Thursday, May 31, 2007


Saying all most of the right things… That would be Rudy.
In a potential preview of next fall's presidential contest, Mr. Giuliani, who is seen as the front-runner for the Republican nomination, directly attacked the leading Democratic candidate, Mrs. Clinton, over a speech she gave Tuesday in New Hampshire bemoaning the return of "robber barons" and promising to pursue "shared prosperity" by increasing taxes on Americans making more than $200,000 a year.

"This would be an astounding, staggering tax increase," Mr. Giuliani told reporters yesterday after a visit to a restaurant on the edge of California's Silicon Valley. "She wants to go back to the 1990s. … It would hurt our economy. It would hurt this area dramatically. That kind of tax increase would see a decline in your venture capital. It would see a decline in your ability to focus on new technology."

Mr. Giuliani clearly relished the chance to engage with Mrs. Clinton on the tax issue. He was even armed with some research about her past statements on the subject. " Mrs. Clinton, when she was in San Francisco a few years ago, was quoted as saying about the tax cuts, ‘We're going to have to take more from you to give it to the common good,'" he said. "My philosophy is to give you a little more back for the common good."
I posted a couple of throw-away links yesterday to comment on Her Hillaryness’ economic speech, given this past Tuesday in New Hampshire. And now at least one GOP candidate has come out and called Hill on her socialist BS. Good on Rudy. The rest of the GOP field shouldn’t be too far behind. One hopes.

There are lots of reasons why I tend to vote Republican rather than Democratic, but the “small government” and associated tax policies are perhaps the biggest of all. Well, that and the “surrender at any cost” thingie. Can’t forget that.

Peggy Noonan wrote a pretty good op-ed last Friday
Naturally I hope the new immigration bill fails. It is less a bill than a big dirty ball of mischief, malfeasance and mendacity, with a touch of class malice, and it's being pushed by a White House that is at once cynical and inept. The bill's Capitol Hill supporters have a great vain popinjay's pride in their own higher compassion. They are inclusive and you're not, you cur, you gun-totin' truckdriver's-hat-wearin' yahoo. It's all so complex, and you'd understand this if you weren't sort of dumb.

But it's not so complex. The past quarter-century an unprecedented wave of illegal immigrants has crossed our borders. The flood is so great that no one--no one--can see or fully imagine all the many implications, all the country-changing facts of it. No one knows exactly what uncontrolled immigration is doing and will do to our country.

So what should we do?
Not a rhetorical question, that. Ms. Noonan offers up some common-sensical prescriptions. The only problem is that common sense ain’t all that common, now, is it?

The best news I’ve read lately: “Spam King” suspect seized.
The Seattle man is accused of illegally clogging the planet's inboxes with billions of illegal e-mails using hijacked computer networks.

You've probably heard from him, federal authorities say. Many times.
And with his arrest, you could see an immediate decrease in the amount of spam e-mail in your inbox, they said.

One expert estimated that the man agents dubbed the "Spam King" when they arrested him Wednesday sent billions, perhaps even tens of billions, of e-mails a day.

On just two groups of servers, in just a few months, federal investigators found more than 200 million spam messages linked to 27-year-old Robert Soloway.
I’ve been rarely troubled by spam since I switched to g-mail, coz Google has the best anti-spam algorithms in the business. But that doesn’t mean I’m not celebrating. I hope the Feds throw the book at this SOB. Or worse…bringing back public flogging would be appropriate, doncha think?

Today’s Pic Plane Pr0n: Left-to-right: An F-100, a MiG-17 in Polish livery, and the nose of a MiG-21…all exhibits in the “Fighter Gallery” at the Hill Aerospace Museum.
May 24, 2007.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Got this in the in-box this morning:
You're Invited!

As a valued Amazon customer, you've been specially picked to get an early look at a new website Amazon has just launched called Askville. Askville is a place where you can ask any question on any topic and get real answers from real people. It’s a fun place to meet others with similar interests to you and a place where you can share what you know. You can learn something new every day or help and meet others using your knowledge. It's new, and best of all, it's free!

To start go to:

Thanks,- The Askville Team
I checked it out and the site looks fairly useful, so I thought I’d share. And…while I may be a “valued Amazon customer,” I’m not that valued: the site has been active since at least April 11th.

Short post today…for a number of reasons. Well, two, at least. First and foremost, there’s not a lot in the news that strikes me as blog-worthy. Oh, there’s Hillary coming out and advocating socialist economic policies, should she be elected Leader Of The Free World (aiiieee!)…but that’s not really news, now, is it? And then there’s the on-going incompetence of the Homeland Security folks…this time it’s the now-acknowledged terrorist dry run that was pooh-poohed back in the summer of 2004. But once again, isn’t that sorta “more of the same,” just different? And so it goes with the news. Forgive me, Gentle Reader, but I just can’t get excited about this sort of stuff today.

No…the real reason I’m posting light today is that things are beginning to quicken around SN1’s house. You may remember the primary reason I’m visiting here in Utah is to attend grand-daughter Monique’s high-school graduation. The influx of out-of-town visitors begins in earnest today, what with The First Mrs. Pennington arriving this afternoon and the first of many relatives from New Mexico arriving sometime today, as well.

And there’s more. What I may not have told you is that in addition to preparing for Monique’s Big Day, SN1 and family are packing up for their move to South Carolina. The house is being packed up, boxed up, and is in a state of disassembly, even as house guests arrive. Monique graduates on Friday, the U-Haul will be loaded on Saturday, and the cavalcade leaves for South Carolina Sunday morning. To say the situation is “somewhat chaotic” is a massive understatement!

So: a brief post.

Today’s Pic: More plane pr0n from the Hill Aerospace Museum…this time it’s a pair of F-86 Sabres—a C-model (background) and the interceptor D-model (foreground).

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Apropos of Nothing…

More fodder for SN1’s “I Love Me Wall*.” I think it’s a pretty cool graphic, so I thought I’d share. (In the Complaints Dept: You'd think they'd spring for non-reflective glass.)

The elements of the graphic are as follows: Two shields, one with "United States Air Force" (but NOT the "official" USAF coat-of-arms), and one with the Air Force Materiel Command shield (the official one, this time); the picture, which contains an eagle and the major weapons systems supported by the Ogden Air Logistics Center—the Minuteman ICBM, the A-10 Warthog, the B-2, the F-16, and finally...the F-22. And then there are the two plaques with Buck's "stuff," e.g., the dates he was assigned to the Logistics Career Broadening Program and a great little blurb about him being a "true logistics warrior," whatever the Hell that means.

And by the way...the Logistics Career Broadening Program is about what it sounds like: a two-year controlled tour where selected captains (and the program is selective: only 15 captains from eight different AF logistics specialty codes, USAF-wide, are selected annually) rotate through various logistics disciplines, such as program management, supply-chain management, and depot-level maintenance. Sort of an advanced degree program, but with a difference: you DO stuff. Buck worked in the ICBM, C-130, and A-10 programs during his two years at Hill.

* The I Love Me Wall, and the officially-presented stuff (citations, plaques, photos, etc.) that resides thereupon, is a much bigger phenomenon on the “O” side of the house. Guys on the “E” side usually don’t begin to accumulate this sort of paraphernalia until late in their careers, i.e., when they hit the Senior NCO ranks. Folks on the O-side, OTOH, begin on Day One…when they receive their commissioning document.

I’ve seen some pretty impressive “I Love Me” walls. But none in El Casa Móvil De Pennington (or at my fixed addresses, either).

Cindy and Cyberwar

The lead item on memeorandum this morning (aiiieee! Politics!) is Cindy Sheehan’s “resignation letter” from the peace movement. Her good-bye missive, titled "Good Riddance Attention Whore," is posted at DKos. I’ve sampled some of the comment across the blogosphere this morning on Ms. Sheehan’s resignation and it’s mostly sympathetic…even from the Right. Ms. Sheehan was…and remains…a tragic figure. I sympathize with her loss—greatly—as any person would. But I cannot condone some of the more bizarre manifestations of her grief. And I have nothing but contempt for those people who used her.

More…lots more…at memeorandum.

Missing from the MSM, but prominent on certain tech sites…China Crafts Cyberweapons.” From the PC Magazine article:

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) continues to build cyberwarfare units and develop viruses to attack enemy computer systems as part of its information-warfare strategy, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) warned in a report released on Friday.

"The PLA has established information warfare units to develop viruses to attack enemy computer systems and networks," the annual DOD report on China's military warned. At the same, Chinese armed forces are developing ways to protect its own systems from an enemy attack, it said, echoing similar warnings made in previous years.

These capabilities are part of China's ongoing military modernization efforts, which have seen the country add dozens of high-tech fighters and ballistic missiles to its arsenal. China isn't alone in building the capability to attack an enemy's computer systems. The U.S. and other countries have developed similar abilities.

There’s no doubt in my mind SN2 is in-touch with these developments, as he’s working in this area in his new assignment at US Strategic Command HQ in Omaha. Pity he can’t talk about what he’s doing. As an ol’ IT kinda guy, I’m really interested in this stuff.

Related: “War Fears Turn Digital After Data Siege in Estonia.”
TALLINN, Estonia, May 24 — When Estonian authorities began removing a bronze statue of a World War II-era Soviet soldier from a park in this bustling Baltic seaport last month, they expected violent street protests by Estonians of Russian descent.

They also knew from experience that “if there are fights on the street, there are going to be fights on the Internet,” said Hillar Aarelaid, the director of Estonia’s Computer Emergency Response Team. After all, for people here the Internet is almost as vital as running water; it is used routinely to vote, file their taxes, and, with their cellphones, to shop or pay for parking.

What followed was what some here describe as the first war in cyberspace, a monthlong campaign that has forced Estonian authorities to defend their pint-size Baltic nation from a data flood that they say was set off by orders from Russia or ethnic Russian sources in retaliation for the removal of the statue.


“This may well turn out to be a watershed in terms of widespread awareness of the vulnerability of modern society,” said Linton Wells II, the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for networks and information integration at the Pentagon. “It has gotten the attention of a lot of people.” (my emphasis)
As well it should. Technological societies live and die on the ‘net. And our military has gotten to the point where it absolutely cannot function without the network. Not for nothing the USAF modified its mission statement in 2005 to include the term “cyberspace.” The language in the revised mission statement is clumsy, true. But the intent and importance is NOT.

Update on Cindy (0905 hrs)… Here’s Captain Ed:
I hope she does return to her family and regain what she has lost. She lost her son, and she lost the rest of her family when she tried to turn herself into a weird kind of martyr. Now that she's climbing down off the cross, perhaps she can finally find some comfort in her surviving children and leave behind the lunacy she has exhibited in her fringe-Left campaign against not just George Bush but the country towards which she feels so much bitterness.
Read the whole thing.

Temple Square

Today’s Pics: SN1 and I did a little touristing this past Sunday, in addition to sampling the local beer. We spent an hour walking around Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake, the site of the Salt Lake LDS Temple. I was impressed. VERY impressed.

Temple Square is well laid out, very well maintained, and is beautiful. I told Buck I felt it was a little like visiting the Vatican, but on a much smaller scale. I was much taken with the landscaping, the architecture, and the general environment…including the many, many young missionaries walking the grounds.

Most impressive.

SLC... Sunday, May 27, 2007.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

“The National Moment of Remembrance, established by Congress, asks Americans wherever they are at 3 p.m., local time, on Memorial Day to pause in an act of national unity (duration: one minute).The time 3 p.m. was chosen because it is the time when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday. The Moment does not replace traditional Memorial Day events; rather it is an act of national unity in which all Americans, alone or with family and friends, honor those who died for our freedom. It will help to reclaim Memorial Day as the sacred and noble holiday it was meant to be. In this shared remembrance, we connect as Americans."

The White House Commission on Remembrance

Sunday, May 27, 2007

A Photo Essay

1. Peruse
2. Sample
3. Select
4. Order (two pints of beer [each] AND excellent food)
5. Enjoy

Result: Two Happy Campers.

Rooster's. Layton, Utah
Sunday, 5-27-2007

Sunday, Part Deux

You won’t read a finer essay this Memorial Day weekend than this one by Gerard Van der Leun. The lede:
On Living with the Loss of a Son in Wartime. Written and first published on Memorial Day, 2003

MY NAME, "GERARD VAN DER LEUN," IS AN UNUSUAL ONE. So unusual, I've never met anyone else with the same name. I do know of one other man with the name, but we've never met. I've seen his name in an unusual place. This is the story of how that happened.
Read the whole thing. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

And speaking of Memorial Day messages…Michael Yon has a good one, direct from Anbar Province. Yon needs no introduction from me, as most of the folks who stop by EIP are well aware of who he is and what he does. ‘Nuff said.

Have you ever wondered how much money search engines (and Google, in particular) make? Well, here’s an answer of sorts…even though it’s largely theoretical.

Each 1% of search market share is worth over $100M in revenues - Here is the math. There were 7.3 billion searches performed in March of 2007. One percent of that is 73 million searches times $0.12 revenue per search or $8.76M per month. That translates to $105.1M in annualized revenue.
And Google owns 50%—half!—of the search market. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: They’ll own the world, eventually.

In Two Parts...One

Today's Pic Plane Pr0n: Two of my favorite WW II aircraft—the P-51 and the P-47 (three, actually, if you count the fact the P-51 is under the wing of a B-17). The former is perhaps the most beautiful fighter ever built and the latter, although considered butt-ugly by some, was perhaps the most effective and rugged fighter aircraft…ever. Your mileage most certainly will vary.
May 25th, at the Hill Aerospace Museum.

Editorial Rant: I am SO frickin' frustrated, disgusted, and absolutely PISSED at my inability to get Blogger to work with MS-Word on SN1's PC. Today's post is in two parts because I (a) cannot cut and paste images after uploading them and (b) seemingly cannot implement the work-around that worked the day before yesterday... i.e., paste elements of my post in between the pics. Please forgive the amateurish layout of the blog. It WILL return to normal when I get back home. Until then...I beg your indulgence, Gentle Reader.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Today's Pics

Yesterday was a brilliant day…so guess what SN1 and I did?

Layton/Ogden is surrounded by mountains, and in addition to being one the more picturesque locales in all of these United States, the area is a biker’s paradise. “Biker’s paradise,” to me, means lots of twisty-turny mountain and canyon roads, and SN1 showed me a few of his favorites during yesterday’s ride. We rode up into the mountains to Snow Basin ski resort and then rode down to the Pineview Reservoir, around the reservoir and on up to Wolf Creek. From Wolf Creek we backtracked down to the reservoir and took Utah State Route 39…otherwise known as Ogden Canyon Road…on into Ogden.

Today’s pics were taken at the base of Ogden Canyon Road by a spectacular waterfall. Scenic…to say the very least! As the pics for the larger versions.

Friday, May 25, 2007

A Little Plane Pr0n…

…from the Hill Aerospace Museum. I spent over three hours at this fine aerospace museum on Hill AFB yesterday and took 63 photos during my visit. It was a great good day out!

While the HAM doesn’t compare…can’t compare…to our nation’s flagship aerospace museums, it is a well-done museum chock-full of well maintained and immaculately restored aircraft, aircraft power plants, uniforms, and other various and sundry artifacts of our country’s aerial military history. The museum is staffed with volunteer docents, most of which are older, retired USAF-types, but there are a few younger docents, as well. One of the better parts of my visit were the extended conversations I had with some of these old guys…it’s always fun to share war stories, bases, and places you’ve been with other guys from your era and guys from eras well before your time (in some cases). Informed, knowledgeable, and dedicated docents can make all the difference between a good museum and a great one. I’d put the Hill museum in the “great” category.

I only have two criticisms of the museum. First, they need larger facilities. The aircraft are crowded together in a very small space relative to their size. The number of aircraft on display is actually amazing…I’d love to see how they maneuvered some of the larger airframes, such as the B-17 and B-24, into place.

My second criticism is the lighting could be better. You’ll note the interior photo I’m posting today is quite dark, and subsequent photos I plan to post over the course of the next few days will be quite dark, as well.

All that said…the Hill Aerospace Museum is an excellent facility. If you’re an aviation buff and you happen to be in Salt Lake City area, it’s worth your time. More than worth your time!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Still Catching Up...

It’s tough to fall behind…and it’s even tougher to catch up! But, one does what one must and the process of catching up on my daily reads reminds me of the punch line from that ol’ joke about how one eats an elephant: “one bite at a time.” I’m not even half-way there yet, but I’m pretty much caught up where it matters, which is to say among my blog-buddies. Don’t ask about the biggies…I’ve barely scratched the surface.

However. Here’s something from one of the Big Dogs that’s a great read (if you haven’t already done so): Gerard’s “The Declaration of Non-Dependency.”

It has come to our attention that we haven't really been at the top of your Christmas list for some time now. Like some spouse that has become too used to having her good life paid for by a husband's work and sweat, you've decided you "need your space."

And we are here to give it to you. Politely if possible, but with both barrels if necessary. So pay attention.


You need to have a little time to develop some self-reliance. Get that old self-esteem back that only comes with paying for your own defense.

We realize now that in protecting you and the world's markets, and keeping everybody out there from just killing everybody else, we've robbed you of the chance to determine your own destiny. For many of you, your destiny seems to be death, slavery, boredom, buttplugs or some bizarre combination of all four. Hey, we guess you've gotta just go for the gusto.

Therefore, as Americans, we've decided to take a break and bag the world for about two years so you can sort things out without our annoying presence.

Think of it as our sabbatical from your "present difficulties."

Please note that during this time the following policies will prevail:
What follows is a list of ten conditions that will apply world-wide during the two-year American hiatus from world affairs. My personal favorite is this one:
We're sort of tuckered out here and not a little bit cranky because of it, so please don't do anything that interrupts our picnics and naps. Should any of you take it in your little pin-heads to bug us, please understand that we reserve the right to, well, "over-react" and give you a live demo of how to turn sand into glass in your own backyard. (See below) Learn the inner meaning of our temporary national motto: Noli me tangere.
Gerard gives good satire. Do go! (And I should also note that Gerard, being one of the foremost essayists of our time, has much, much more of interest at his place. “The Hive and the Town” is spectacular, IMHO.)

Here’s an example of some older stuff I’ve found while catching-up that I’m gonna take to heart (should I ever decide to “get back in the game”): “Rachel’s Helpful Guide to Online Dating: For Men.” Actually, I’ve pretty much known all this stuff for some time now. An excerpt:
Almost all of the single people I know use online dating services; the taboo seems to have completely lifted in the last few years. Because, would it really be better to meet men in bars? Eww. Anyway, so a few months ago, I put a profile on Yahoo! personals just to see what would happen. Then I spent some time searching through all the other profiles, and basically...oh my GOD.

Of the roughly 400 "contacts" I got in the first month, I immediately deleted 95% of them with a cringe on my face because their profiles were just so apocalyptically BAD, but that made me feel kinda mean (really - only a little), and I thought to myself, Self, maybe you can HELP these poor bastards. So, this is for any single guys who are trying to meet women who are both sane and intelligent...
And a laundry list follows. It never hurts to review.

Today’s Pic: The Cache La Poudre Canyon – Again. I’ve already gone on at great length about the beauty and wonderfulness of the canyon, but here’s another view. And did I tell you the road was just made for bikes? Why, yes, I think I did!

This past Monday, on Colorado Route 14.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Late Night Blogging

Just a few more pics—this time from Fort Collins.

The second pic is The Second Mrs. Pennington and SN3, taken at a motorcycle shop in Fort Collins. We arranged to meet at the bike store on Friday morning in order to appropriately outfit SN3 for riding. TSMP did her part by buying SN3 a new pair of heavy duty boots and ensuring he had heavy pants…jeans, in this case…suitable for riding. My end of the bargain was getting Bobby a helmet, and I also bought him a motorcycle jacket since I wasn’t satisfied with the one TSMP brought along. Bobby was quite taken with his new helmet and pretty much insisted on wearing it all the time... so much so that it was hard to get a picture of him during our brief visit without the helmet.

The third and fourth pics were taken in the motel parking lot before we left on our ride out into the Colorado countryside on Sunday. The first parking lot pic is SN1 and SN3; the second is me and SN3. The first pic in this series is a head shot of SN3 taken during our ride.

Bobby is a good rider. He took my safety instructions to heart and behaved well on the bike. It turned out he enjoyed riding on Buck’s bike more than he did on the ‘Zuki, but that was because the passenger's portion of the seat on Buck’s bike is quite a bit narrower than mine and fit Bobby's smaller…uh…anatomy better than the wider seat on the ‘Zuki.

I’m not quite sure Bobby’s completely sold on the idea of motorcycling, but then again, he’s only experienced riding as a passenger, and not as the guy in control. There’s a big, big difference… I don’t particularly enjoy riding as a passenger, either... but Dang! do I ever love to "drive!"

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Ride from Hell

(This is a long post. Get a cup and settle in.)

So. SN1 and I arrived safe and sound in Layton just after noon today; we left Fort Collins around 0830 hours yesterday morning. OK, Ricky…I suppose I got some splainin’ to do…

The title of this post should give you a clue, but the ride out from Fort Collins was both the best of rides and the worst of rides. Ever. Let’s start with the best.

SN1 and I decided to take the long way home. The quick way home would have been up I-25 to I-80 and a long drone of a ride…about seven hours…on the super-slab. Fortunately, there was an alternative two-lane scenic route. We took it.

Cache Poudre Canyon - One
Cache Poudre Canyon - 2

We left Fort Collins and followed Colorado Route 14 through the Cache La Poudre river canyon. The weather was great at this point in the ride, the road was simply meant for motorcycles (or sports cars), and the scenery was more than magnificent. The only drawback at this point in the ride was the posted speed limit (35 mph in most places, a maximum of 45 mph in others). SN1 and I held our speed down to a reasonable level…say 55 - 60 mph. Most of the time.

There was another drawback, as well, if one could call it a drawback: too many “photo ops.” We didn’t stop at every photo opportunity, because if we had…we’d still be in the canyon. I had to keep reminding myself that we told my daughter–in-law that we’d be home by nightfall. So we limited our stops and pressed on.

Joe Wright Reservoir

We got a harbinger of things to come when we stopped at the Joe Wright reservoir to take a couple of pictures. The reservoir was still completely iced over and there was a lot of snow on the ground. And it was cold. We wrote this off to the altitude: nearly 10,000 feet. Took the pictures and motored on, we did.

At Walden, CO... just before it all went downhill, figuratively speaking.

We motored on across Route 14 and stopped at Walden for gas and a drain and refill operation. During the pit stop we met and talked with a group of three BMW riders who were traveling east. They asked about the weather and road conditions; we did the same. We gave them a glowing report; they warned us about high winds and rain from Steamboat Springs to Walden. Those guys described the winds as “hellish.” They weren’t wrong, either, but more about that…later. We spent about 20 minutes talking to those guys…genuinely nice people on some genuinely impressive machinery. And we shot pictures of each other…although it didn’t occur to me at the time to take a picture of those guys. I really, really should have.

So. On to Steamboat Springs. We left Colorado 14 and picked up US 40 just outside of Walden. We got pretty wet about half-way between Walden and Steamboat when the bottom dropped out, the wind came up, and the hail came down. The storm passed quickly, however, and we pressed on. (Side note: hail hurts when you’re on a motorcycle doing 65 ~ 70 mph. Not recommended.) We ate lunch in Steamboat, went to Wally-World where Buck bought rain gear and I picked up an additional sweatshirt, and we pressed on. By this time the wind had picked up considerably and the temperature dropped.

Our next stop was in Dinosaur, CO, where we decided to put our rain gear on, permanently. There were two reasons for this: (a) stay dry…as the skies looked rather ominous to the west of us and (b) stay warm, as it was colder than the proverbial witch’s tit (or well-digger’s ass: you choose) by that point. And it was getting late, too…1700 hours or so, at that point. Buck called Erma and readjusted our ETA to “sometime after eight.” And we pressed on.

The ride deteriorated from that point on…getting progressively worse. It was the wind, and the wind was fierce. Fifty miles per hour fierce. I dropped my speed to about 50 ~ 55 mph from Vernal, Utah all the way to Duchesne, Utah. And I thought we’d never get to Duchesne. The wind was whipping the trees like I’ve seldom seen, ever. Even in P-Town. We finally got to Duchesne, where Buck needed to gas up. It was 1900 hours at that point and the wind showed no signs of abating. That’s when I told Buck I’d had enough…I wasn’t going to fight it any longer and if he absolutely, positively had to be home tonight to press on and I’d follow in the morning. He agreed we should stop. So stop we did, in a sleazy motel the likes of which I hadn’t seen since my misspent youth. But hey…it was a bed, it was warm, and it was out of the wind. We asked the lady at the motel desk if she had any idea what the wind speed was and she said she thought 50 mph. It was that, at least. And then she told us it was “gonna get cold tonight, but it’s supposed to be beautiful tomorrow.”

It was beautiful out when we awoke: clear skies, light wind, and chilly…about 45 degrees or so. We walked to a convenience store, grabbed coffee and exchanged war stories with the lady in the shop. She claimed the wind was gusting to 70 mph the previous evening and was incredulous that we had been riding in it…while entertaining us with other horror stories. We took our coffee back to the motel, packed up, loaded up, and hit the road at 0800.

US 40 climbs about 6,000 feet outside of Duchesne, culminating at around 10,000 feet at Daniel’s Summit. It also got progressively colder, and colder, and colder as we motored up the mountain. I lost the feeling in my fingers about 30 minutes out of Duchesne; by the time we got to Daniel’s Summit my hands were numb. Fortunately for us there was a beautiful lodge and general store at the summit, and we stopped. Just in the nick of time, as it were. It literally took me five minutes to take my helmet off as I couldn’t feel the strap and d-rings with my (literally) frozen fingers. We walked in to the restaurant and were shown to the gas fireplace where we warmed our hands and had our first cup of coffee. Warming our hands was a painful process…in between trying to be manly and refrain from crying I worried about permanent damage to my fingers. As I said…it was painful. It was at that point we learned the temperature outside was 28 degrees.

We stayed at the Summit for about an hour, enjoying a wonderful breakfast and just generally warming up. We also bought additional cotton knit gloves at the general store, which we layered under our leather gloves. And we were off, again.

We made about 40 miles before we had to stop again…because of the cold. At that point in time we were three hours out of Duchesne and had only made 90 miles. Slow going, to say the least. Buck chatted with a couple of Utah State Patrol officers and asked about the weather between our stop and Salt Lake…a distance of about 50 or 60 miles. The troopers told Buck it had snowed in the place we were standing less than 20 minutes ago..flurries only…and recommended we head straight to Salt Lake via I-80, instead of cutting north towards Ogden via I-84 as we had originally planned. We took their advice.

And we were off yet again…and ran into snow flurries crossing the last pass before dropping down into Salt Lake. And that was the last of the bad weather…Thank God!

It was a relative cruise after we dropped down into Salt Lake…we ran about 80 – 85 mph the rest of the way into Layton and got to SN1’s house just after noon. Mission accomplished.

I don’t ever want another ride like that one again. Ever. As I said at the beginning: it was the best of the rides (the first 25%) and the worst of rides. And this coming weekend is Memorial Day, no less. Who’d a thunk the weather would be so bad, eh?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Another "Quick Update"

The Weather Gods smiled upon us today, sorta. Bob-O and I suited up around 1000 hrs (or so) and rode into downtown Fort Collins and walked around a bit, making the de rigeur stop at Starbucks, of course.

After our walkabout we motored four miles just outside FC to La Porte, which is where Bobby actually lives. Bobby showed me his house and then we had lunch at La Porte Pizza... a fave of his. As we left the pizzeria I noticed the sky had clouded up considerably, and since (a) Bobby has no rain gear and (b) I left mine at the hotel, I decided discretion was the better part of valor and suggested we return to the Courtyard, post haste. Bobby agreed.

We got spit on a little bit during the 15 minute ride back to the hotel...just enough rain to see on our face shields, but not enough to get us wet. As I said...the Weather Gods smiled upon us.

I'm pretty sure the Weather Gods have not smiled upon SN1. The weather looks pretty rainy between here and Utah. We're anxiously awaiting his call to let us know he's in the area. Nothing yet, but I'm not really expecting him until around 1800 hrs or so. He got off to a late start...leaving around 0945 this morning...and it's about an eight-hour ride from Layton to Fort Collins...longer if he hit rain and such, as I'm sure he has.

More later...

Friday, May 18, 2007

A Quick Update

So. Hanging out with SN3 is pretty cool, to say the least. The day has been fairly low and slow, and that's OK with me. We've not gone for an extended ride today. As a matter of fact we only rode from the bike shop back to the hotel...a distance of about four miles, and that was it. As I told The Second Mrs. Pennington last night: I didn't even want to look at the 'Zuki today, let alone do any extended riding. She replied that Bobby probably didn't care, and that has been the case. And I'm glad. There will be plenty of time for riding tomorrow and Sunday...especially Sunday, when SN1 is here with his new Kowalski.

Some random notes...

I don't like composing in the Blogger "post" window. It takes time for me to organize my thoughts and edit...and I don't get that when using the "create" window in Blogger. So forgive me if this post seems sorta disorganized and rambling, more so than usual. I sure do miss my very own PC. And MS-Word. And I can't post pictures using this public workstation in the Courtyard... of which there are more than a few that were taken today.

In the "It Happens Every Time" Department: Whenever I leave P-Town I always, without exception, wonder just why it is that I stay in Portales. Case in point: SN3 and I walked to Safeway late this morning. I left home without packing my razor and needed to buy one, which will be the third Gillette Mach III in my personal inventory (I always forget my razor. What does this mean?). But I digress. The local Safeway, while not an equal to Wegmans (for instance), is pretty danged cool. There's a Starbucks on the premises, a full-service deli (with sushi!), a sandwich shop that goes beyond the term "sandwich shop," and so on and so forth. So: We had lunch at Safeway, I got my (belated) Starbucks fix, and life was good. Just can't do that at home.

I mentioned this to SN3 (e.g., "Why do I stay in Portales?") and he replied: "Because you don't like snow." Good point. The best, actually.

Out of the Mouths of Babes Dept: A brief conversation. The setting: outside of Safeway at an al fresco dining table. Eating lunch and watching the people come and go, especially the women.

SN3: (Something)
Me: What? I was distracted.
SN3: Distracted?
Me: Yeah, sorry. I was looking at that girl.
SN3: You were looking at chicks.
Me: Well, yeah, but more than chicks, Bob-O. Women. It's one of life's greatest pleasures.
SN3: But isn't that double-crossing Mom?
Me: What?
SN3: Double-crossing Mom by looking at other women.
Me: I don't get it.
SN3: I think you're in love with Mom, so you shouldn't be looking at other women.
Me: You're half right. Let's change the subject, 'K?

Interesting logic, and an implementation of a blatant double-standard! The conversation above may not be verbatim, but it's damned close. I was say the least.

And I'll leave it at that. We're off to dinner as soon as I hit "post." Bobby has never eaten Italian food and there's an interesting looking Italian place just around the corner from the Courtyard.

More tomorrow.

577.6 Miles in Eleven Hours

Just a quick post...there's more info on my ride in the comments section to the post immediately below this one and I won't repeat myself. For once.

The Fort Collins Courtyard has a public workstation, so I will be able to blog. This is a good thing! No Blogger Withdrawal for me, thank you very much!

So. Gonna run now. Almost time for lunch and as much as I love you, Gentle Reader, I really should spend my time, short as it is, with SN3.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Off the 'Net

Big flurry of activity last evening. I got an e-mail from The Second Mrs. Pennington early last night suggesting that SN3 just might prefer spending time with his brother and me over camping, should I find it within my power to be in Colorado tonight.
I think I can do that.
So…all packed up and working on my second (and final) cup of coffee; departure in about half an hour. Everything I’m taking is encased in plastic bags except the ‘Zuki and me (I have my rain gear, but it’s not plastic). Rain seems unavoidable according to the WX Channel forecast; the current radar map tells a different story. My route looks clear all the way into and through Colorado to my destination…let’s hope it stays that way. Hah. With my luck?
I thought about taking the laptop but there’s just no room. So blogging will be light-to-non-existent until I get to SN1’s house Monday night. But I might find a PC, somewhere. One never knows.
By the way…Pronger got a one-game suspension and won’t be playing tonight. I hope the Courtyard has Versus…

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

"I Never Saw That Coming..."

…on at least two levels. First and foremost, the Wings dominated—no other word for it—the Ducks last night. Owned them. In their house. It wasn’t close; it was never close. Who’d a thunk it?
Secondly, that could be Tomas Holmstrom talking about the vicious hit he received from Ducks Neidermeyer and Pronger. The headline in today’s Toronto Star: “Two goals and 13 stitches; Holmstrom leads Red Wings attack, takes vicious hit
ANAHEIM, Calif.–Tomas Holmstrom was left in stitches after scoring twice and adding an assist in the Detroit Red Wings' 5-0 rout of the Anaheim Ducks in Game 3 of their NHL Western Conference final.
Holmstrom needed 13 stitches last night to close a couple of cuts on his forehead after a brutal hit into the boards in the second period, but he was smiling after the Red Wings used the win to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
"I had two guys on me and fell into the boards," the veteran Swede said about the hit. "I never saw the guys come from behind.
"They wanted to make sure I didn't have a concussion. I was ready for the third (period)."
Dominik Hasek made 29 saves for his 14th career playoff shutout as the Wings dominated the game.
Bob McKenzie of TSN (Canada) on the Holmstrom hit:
To suspend or not to suspend, that is the question facing executive vice president Colin Campbell on the issue of the Chris Pronger-Rob Niedermayer crunch job on Detroit's Tomas Holmstrom.
The Anaheim Ducks will maintain it was a hard hockey play – two physical Duck defenders finishing their checks, perhaps a little too exuberantly, on Holmstrom – that resulted in a wholly appropriate five-minute major to Niedermayer. Case closed.
The Red Wings, on the other hand, will no doubt suggest the penalty was assessed to the wrong player – replays show Pronger's left elbow making significant contact with Holmstrom's head against the glass, although Niedermayer's arm or shoulder was also involved – and that the act was a cheap shot to the head from behind, rife with intent to injure. Suspension worthy, if you will.
Yes, it is going to be an interesting Wednesday for the NHL.
The hit on Holmstrom perhaps took away from the real story of the game – Detroit walking into Anaheim and giving the Ducks a thorough beating, chasing starting netminder Jean Sebastien Giguere and re-gaining home-ice advantage in a series where it had looked, going into Game 3, that the Wings were beginning to wear down and might be physically overmatched.
Now, though, the focus for Thursday's Game 4 is whether Pronger will be in the lineup for the Ducks.
It could go either way.
Whether fans like it or not, NHL discipline often hinges on how badly the player is injured. Holmstrom, who was bloodied and appeared groggy and dazed after the hit, eeded 13 stitches to close two cuts and returned to play in the third period, assisting on the Wings' fifth goal. The Ducks will no doubt argue "no harm, no foul" over and above the five-minute major that was assessed.
But it is safe to say the league will be, to some degree, troubled by the circumstances of the hit.
That is, the score was 4-0 at the time. Detroit was clearly in control; the Ducks were frustrated at how things had unfolded. The game was, for all intents and purposes, over.
Suspend the SOB. Give Pronger a single game suspension, the only nod I would give to the “it’s the Finals” argument. Yeah, Pronger is a key, perhaps THE key, player on Anaheim’s team. But Holmstrom is a key player, too. And where would the Wings be if Holmstrom had been injured severely last night? The NHL cannot let dirty hits go unpunished; Anaheim cannot feel free to indulge in behavior like this. The fact that no serious lasting injury was done is beside the point, serious injury most certainly could have been done. And if you saw that hit, you’ll understand.
The difference between talk and reality… This was some of The Talk before last night’s game:
A year ago the Ducks took to the ice at Rexall Place down 2-0 in the series to the Edmonton Oilers, lost another one and were done in five.
Tonight, they go into Game 3 at home tied 1-1 with the Detroit Red Wings, believing they should be up 2-0 and with a confidence about them, but not a swagger, of a team which thinks they can get it done and maybe be the first NHL team from the West Coast to win a Stanley Cup.
“We’re a very confident group and a very tough team to beat now,” is how goaltender J.S. Giguere describes the difference.
“One year later is a big difference because we’ve got that one year under our belt. Our young guys are better. The young guys know what the playoffs are all about.
“Mostly we know what it takes to win and how much it hurts to lose.”
And here’s Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle with a little Reality:
Q. Do you feel your team lost its composure in the second period?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Well, obviously things really spiraled down quickly for our group in the second. I think we must have taken five penalties in a row or something like that.
Obviously, our frustration level got up there, and we didn’t show the necessary discipline that’s required. It just seemed to have a snowball effect. What else can you say?
Did we lose our composure? I’d have to say that it left lots of room for improvement.
Q. What was Detroit doing in this game that it wasn’t doing in the previous two games? Do you believe they were more successful in pressuring your defense in this game?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Well, they were obviously the better team tonight. Simple as that. (emphasis mine)
That was last night’s reality. Hockey can be strange at times. Just because the Ducks sucked last night (and that’s being polite, folks) doesn’t mean they suck permanently. I’d love to think the Wings have found the formula and the domination will continue. But that’s not reality. This series is far from over…there’s lots of hard work ahead. But Big Mo is definitely on the Wings’ side.
What a series this is!
(photo credits Detroit News [top], Getty Images [bottom])

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


I saw this item yesterday and considered blogging about it, what with my past association with all things Detroit…including the car biz… but couldn’t find the appropriate “voice” to adequately express myself. This morning I find Scott Ott has the perfect take:

For Sale: Used Chrysler, Some Rust, Runs: $7.4 Billion
by Scott Ott

FOR SALE: Used Chrysler, 82 yrs old, recently owned by German family for rec use only. Carries 80,000 passengers plus heavy union baggage. Some rust. Runs. Bought 9 yrs ago at $36 billion. U can own it today at $7.4 billion OBO. Act now and we’ll throw in $18 billion in long-term liabilities, no extra charge. Ask for Dieter

OK, hindsight is 20-20, but when Daimler acquired Chrysler I thought “there’s no way this is gonna work.” Among other things, which I won’t mention here. But Dang! Losing 28-plus billion dollars? I suppose one has to cut one’s losses, but still…

And “heavy union baggage.” There’s certainly a lot in those three lil words. Anyone who’s ever had to work within or around the UAW understands.

So…Ed Morrissey is commenting on the latest Gallup survey that puts Congressional approval ratings at an embarrassing 29%, or four points down on Dubya’s approval rating. Captain Ed comes to the following conclusion:

The Democrats had better start producing something other than sound bites if they want to hang onto their majorities in 2008. The electorate has already grown tired of posturing, and their patience has run out on partisan games. We're now at Day 100 for funding the troops, arguably the highest priority in national security, and we still don't have a supplemental bill that can reach a broad consensus. We have no movement on the Democrats' own agenda. It's possibly the worst do-nothing Congress in memory -- and the people have noticed.

There could be multiple reasons behind why Democrats are dissatisfied, e.g., failure to cut off funds for the war right now…for one. And Republicans could also be dissatisfied for multiple reasons, too, not the least of which just might be the waffling and CYA activities of a few Congress-critters with an (R) after their names. Or the spending. Or the impasse on the Iraq supplemental appropriation. Or the lack of movement on immigration. I could go on, but I like Jules Crittenden’s take on this latest poll:

Under governance-by-poll rules, the majority party of Congress is now required to resign enmasse. Or impeach itself. Or do whatever George Bush wants it to do. Something like that.

Or shoot themselves and put us all out of our misery. I want a “do-over,” and having to wait until 2008 is just too frickin’ long. I wanna say just one more thing while I’m in serious ramble-mode, and that’s this: While Congress is pretty high on my sh!t-list, there’s one group that’s higher, and that would be those Republicans who stayed home last November to “send a message.” Thanks, idiots. I hope you’re happy with the results…

Hockey update… Buffalo lost last night, 1-0…and are now in a 3-0 hole to Ottawa. The teams are more evenly matched than a 3-0 series lead might indicate. But…it is what it is. Historically, only two teams out of 150 that were down in a play-off series 3-0 came back to win…the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 1975 New York Islanders. Winning four games…in a row…in the play-offs is danged hard. I don’t think Buffalo is up to it.

Who’d a thunk it?

Weather update… If I were scheduled to leave on my trip today…I wouldn’t. High winds (already here) and thunderstorms (forecasted) are the reasons. And it’s chilly, too. Not chilly enough to qualify as “cold,” but chilly enough for a light jacket if you’re out walking around, and a lot more than that if one were to be astride a bike motoring down the highway. Things aren’t looking any better for the rest of this week, either. Just take a quick glance to your right. I’m thinking about delaying departure until Friday…but that’s the most I can wait.


Monday, May 14, 2007


Another One Bites the Dust… Initially reported yesterday, but today’s NYT has an extensive article about the killing of Mullah Dadullah.
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, May 13 — The man who probably was the Taliban’s foremost operational commander, Mullah Dadullah, was killed in a joint operation by Afghan security forces, American forces and NATO troops in Helmand Province, Governor Asadullah Khaled of the neighboring Kandahar Province said Sunday.
Mullah Dadullah’s body was displayed for journalists on Sunday morning in this southern Afghan city. The NATO force in Afghanistan confirmed his death in a statement issued in Kabul, saying that American troops had led the operation. There were various reports of the actual circumstances and day of the death.
Mullah Dadullah was one of the most wanted Taliban leaders, close to the leader Mullah Muhammad Omar, and with links to Al Qaeda, and was probably the most important operational commander.
It’s been noted elsewhere (correctly) that leaders can and will be replaced, so this loss will have no long-term strategic effect. While the former is certainly true, I have my doubts about the latter…especially when the Dear Departed was as ruthless and effective as Dadullah was purported to be. One of the classic functions of leadership is to find, develop, and exploit “good people.” I use the scare quotes because the terrorist/insurgent biz certainly has a different take on what the term “good people” means. None the less, Dadullah won’t be recruiting and developing more Taliban fighters “in his image,” so to speak. And that’s a good thing.
Paul Bremer, former head of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, wrote an extensive editorial in yesterday’s WaPo. The lede:
Once conventional wisdom congeals, even facts can't shake it loose. These days, everyone "knows" that the Coalition Provisional Authority made two disastrous decisions at the beginning of the U.S. occupation of Iraq: to vengefully drive members of the Baath Party from public life and to recklessly disband the Iraqi army. The most recent example is former CIA chief George J. Tenet, whose new memoir pillories me for those decisions (even though I don't recall his ever objecting to either call during our numerous conversations in my 14 months leading the CPA). Similar charges are unquestioningly repeated in books and articles. Looking for a neat, simple explanation for our current problems in Iraq, pundits argue that these two steps alienated the formerly ruling Sunnis, created a pool of angry rebels-in-waiting and sparked the insurgency that's raging today. The conventional wisdom is as firm here as it gets. It's also dead wrong.
I'll admit that I've grown weary of being a punching bag over these decisions -- particularly from critics who've never spent time in Iraq, don't understand its complexities and can't explain what we should have done differently. These two sensible and moral calls did not create today's insurgency. Intelligence material we discovered after the war began showed that Hussein's security forces had long planned to wage such a revolt.
Bremer makes some good points and provides an “on-the-ground, in the trenches” perspective on the two decisions that have drawn the most flack from war critics. While the usual advice about taking something… anything, everything … with a grain of salt applies, the background and circumstances detailed by Bremer ring true, at least to my ears. Your mileage may vary, of course.
Your hockey update…The Wings lose in overtime last night, 4-3. The bottom line: it could have been anyone’s game. Both teams played well, played hard, and provided an exciting and thrilling game. You couldn’t ask for much more out of a hockey game…the only down-side was the final outcome.
The Wings were out-shot again last night (33-27 overall and 7-2 in the overtime period), but not by as wide a margin as in Game One. Still and even, Detroit needs to work on their offense. It’s not all that bad at the moment, but it ain’t all that good, either. You can’t win a late-round play-off series without scoring even-strength goals…something Detroit isn’t doing. The special teams scored all three of last night’s goals— two on the power-play and one short-handed. Power-play goals are essential to success, but even-strength goals are much more important. Fix this problem and the Wings will be in the Finals. If they don’t…well, I don’t want to talk about that.
The series continues tomorrow night in Anaheim; tonight it’s the Sens – Sabres, in Ottawa. I don’t really have a dog in that fight, but I suppose I should be pulling for Buffalo. After all, I lived in that part of the world for four years.
Today’s Pic: The single iris in the flower bed outside my door has added a second bloom. And the flowers are looking decidedly down-in-the-mouth in this picture, but that’s only because they’re water-logged after being heavily sprinkled for about three hours before I took the shot. If you view the larger image you’ll see water droplets suspended in mid-flight. I think that’s kinda cool. But then, I’m easily amused.
Yesterday. P-Town.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Just a Little Hockey...

I’d like to point out the fact that it’s not “All Wings, all the time” where hockey is concerned at El Casa Móvil De Pennington, just in case you get that impression. Not that it wouldn’t be easy for you to feel that way, Gentle Reader, as all available evidence points in that direction. But no, that’s not the case. At all. I’ve been watching nearly every game during these play-offs. Part of it is because there’s such a dearth of hockey here in rural New Mexico during the regular season, but that’s a small part. The biggest part is because while I’m a Red Wings fan, first and foremost, I’m also a hockey fan.
All that was an intro to discussing last night’s Sabres – Senators game, the second in the Eastern Conference Finals. A great, great game…with a dramatic, double-overtime ending that broke a lot of hearts in Western New York. The Sabres, who were up 2-0 at one point in the game, lost 4-3. What’s worse is Buffalo, the Number One seed in the East and the President’s Trophy winner (in a tie-breaker with the Wings), lost two straight at home and are now down 2-0 in the series, which moves to Ottawa tomorrow night.
But…back to last night. You want drama? How about Buffalo forcing the OT by tying the game with 5.8 seconds left in regulation? It doesn’t get anymore dramatic than that. And it’s the second time during these play-offs the Sabres have accomplished that particular feat, what with winning Game Five in their series with the Rangers in similar fashion…but with seven-point-something seconds left in regulation (I watched that game, too, btw.). So…we go to overtime. The first OT comes and goes, with the Senators generally dominating the period but unable to beat Sabres goalie Ryan Miller…who was every bit as good as he was last year when it looked like Buffalo would go all the way to the Finals. Well, almost that good. Until 4:58 of the second OT when Ottawa’s defenseman Joe Corvo beat Miller cleanly after Jason Spezza won a face-off in Buffalo’s zone. The puck went right to Corvo…who one-timed it toward the net and… that was that. Game Over. The series moves to Ottawa and Buffalo finds themselves in a deep, deep hole. No one is writing off the Sabres just yet, but they sure have their work cut out for them.
So. Excellent game. It doesn’t get a lot better than that. Unless the Wings are involved. (Insert smiley-face here.)
Here’s a tidbit from Kukla’s Korner:
An interesting note from the HNIC (ed: that would be Hockey Night In Canada) folks last night.
If the year ends in ‘7’, only a Canadian team or the Wings have won the Cup.
Hmmm. The way the East is going, it looks like the Sens have a much better than even shot, eh? Or can it be The Fates have spoken and it’s Detroit’s year, again?
By the way: I took this morning’s coffee out of this cup…one of two Stanley Cup Commemorative mugs I have, the other being from the 1998 win. I don’t have a 2002 cup, but I’ll buy a 2007 one later on this year. Ya, I’m that confident. Really.
So…in other news. I’m keeping an eye on the evolving weather picture for next week’s trip to points north and west. It’s a jaundiced eye at this point, because it’s beginning to look like I’ll be doing a bit of riding in the rain. SN1 and I are going to meet in the Fort Collins, CO area next Saturday. The ten-day forecast for P-Town shows showers and T-storms in our future next Thursday and Friday…and the extended week forecast currently running on The WX Channel shows those storms extending north into Colorado. “Extended” forecasts, being what they are, may or may not represent reality. Still…I’m not too comfortable with the possibility, however slight. I hate riding in the rain. It can get ugly and cold, not to mention dangerous. But…it is what it is.
Why go to Colorado, you ask, Gentle Reader? Well…it’s a long story, but I’ll give you the Readers Digest version. SN1 originally proposed Fort Collins as the approximate geographic mid-point between SN1, SN2, and I. SN1 was also trying to float the idea of Sam riding out to Fort Collins and meeting us there…and we’d all go riding, something we’ve never done as a family. Plus there was the extra-added-attraction of SN3 being potentially available, as well, since he lives with Mom in that part of the world. Alas, SN3 will be otherwise occupied on a camping trip to the Black Hills. And, as it turns out, it looks like Sam won’t make it, either, as he may have to go to Dee See to brief some Very Important Stuff to a Very Important General in the Pentagon. It’s still up in the air for Sam, but…life does have a habit of intruding on even the best-laid plans, nu?
At any rate, Buck and I decided we would meet in Colorado, anyway. SN3 will be back from the Black Hills on Sunday, and we just might be able to spend a few hours with him before we leave for SLC on Monday. Unless TSMP reads that Mother’s Day post below. (That was a joke. A bad one, true, but a joke, none the less.)

Happy Mother's Day!

Ah…dog poop. Probably one of the (very) minor reasons my second marriage failed…coz The Second Mrs. Pennington was largely in charge of the particularly odious chore—following behind three dogs, including two pretty good-sized ones—let’s say about 90% of it. And she never hesitated to point out that fact to me. But then again, maybe not. TSMP killed both dogs that were left in our home the week she found out she was pregnant with SN3 (not literally, of course. The vet did the actual dirty work.) She left two years later and hadn’t picked up a whole helluva lot of dog poop…none, in fact… during the intervening time. But I digress. Even though there’s a story in there.

The Mom’s Day image comes from new-to-me blog TGAW…who has great pics of Glacier National Park, in addition to providing me with this “wouldn’t it be great but it would NEVER frickin’ happen in real life” Mom’s Day illustration. Thanks, TGAW!!

Remind me to write about Glacier…some day.

But, seriously. Happy Mother’s Day to all my favorite Moms, and even to those who aren’t my favorites. I’ll remain cryptic on that last.

Back in a bit with hockey stuff you probably won’t read. But you know there may be more, Gentle Reader.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


So. On my way home from the base early this afternoon I passed a young guy on a sport bike going in the opposite direction. As is customary, we waved at each other as he flew by…he was probably doing 80+ mph. I was doing about 75. What immediately caught my eye was the way he was dressed, or to be more specific, the way he was under-dressed. He was in shorts and a tank top. With no helmet. I didn’t get a look at his feet, but if the rest of his clothing was typical I’d guess he was wearing sneakers. We used to call guys like that "squids."

I don’t know who that guy was…but if I did I’d e-mail him this. Here’s a little excerpt:

My name is Chris Young and I live in Auburn, Alabama.


I was getting gas in my Montero-Sport. And after filling up, I had realized that I left my money at home. So I exchanged my cell phone to the cashier for minutes for me to leave and go home to get some money for the store. While at home, I thought about how nice the evening was and figured I would ride the bike to pay the gas station. (In shorts and t-shirt!!!) I made it to pay the lady but never made it home. Well, not until 26 days later. The cause of the wreck is still a blur to me, but not the crash and the aftermath.


I think I was traveling around 100 mph on the interstate, because I told the police I was doing 70 - 90 mph to make it sound better, but you know how us "BAD SPORT BIKER'S" are, and had only passed two vehicles, one car and one trucker. The trucker did notice my high rate of speed, according to the police report and he was also the one who saved me.


This experience has changed my life. While I was in the ER, My blood pressure got down to 60/30, average is 120/80, and I was put on lots of pain meds that night and they continued for almost 3 weeks. I shook like crazy all the time for three weeks, some from pain of my skin and some because coming off the pain meds towards the end. I had 600 cubic centimeters of skin grafts, taken from my left thigh and a broken collarbone. 25 days in the hospital and 7 surgeries. Most of the surgeries were to change the dressings on my arms and legs. Due to the pain of the cleaning of my skin, I had to be put to sleep. One surgery was to cut away the dead skin, and one more was to graft and the last one was too take all the staples out of the grafted skin. My collarbone was never really looked at, it is healing ok, I guess. They wanted to fix my skin before they could do anything to my collarbone.

More at the link, including some pretty gruesome pictures of the physical damage Mr. Young endured. If you think leather is too hot, try wearing anything, and I mean even the lightest tee shirt, over severe road rash or your brand-new skin grafts (see those photos if you want proof). If you think leathers are too expensive…compare a $450.00 set of leathers to a $46,000.00 hospital bill. Not to mention the pain and suffering you and your loved ones would go through. Or, as Mr. Young says:

Hospital bill has been totaled to $45,892.66, (Maybe More) I did have insurance, but wearing leathers would have been a lot better and cheaper.”

What he said.

About the pic…that’s the world-famous Rollie Free setting the land speed record for motorcycles on the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1948. He was on a Vincent Black Lightning and hit 150 mph. Dressed like that. NOT recommended. Here’s the story.