Saturday, April 30, 2011
Blog-Bud Deb sends along a stand-alone wmv that I just KNEW had to be on the Tube O' You. And sho nuff...
I can think of many more reasons as to why men don't listen, but none are better than this one.
Friday, April 29, 2011
My favorite Canadian chirp... Well, check that. My favorite chirp, regardless of nationality.
Old man sleeping on his bags
Women with that teased up kind of hair
Kids with the jitters in their legs
And those wide wide open stares
And the kids got cokes & chocolate bars
There's a thin man smoking a fat cigar
Jealous lovin'll make you crazy
If you can't find your goodness
Cause you've lost your heart
Hey! That's ME Joni's on about!
Who'd a thunk it? (Just for grins 'n' giggles... google "and me the chirp." Why am I not Numero Uno?)
It's been a while since we've done the Weather Girls, so here's
your last Saturday's forecast for tomorrow (My Bad. Sorry.):
I said we'd have comment, right? From the Tube O' You:
... and I've been up all night watching the Royal Wedding brouhaha. It's pretty entertaining, actually... all the spiffy, almost comic opera-like uniforms, celebrities in morning dress, and women in silly hats. What's caught and kept my eye, however, are all the London street views and such, which fire off powerful memories of another time. I've prolly mentioned this a few times, but The Second Mrs. Pennington and I were living in London when Charles and Diana married. The pageantry hasn't changed and London looks much the same as it did in the way-back. As for "other things?" Well, they've changed considerably. I have a MUCH better teevee now.
Update, 1300 hrs or so: So, we went to bed sometime around 0700 hrs this morning and are just now working on our first cup. I was half-joking about having a better teevee above, but it's true. I watched the event in HD and everything was simply stunning, especially the interiors of Westminster Abbey. I'm not sure how much of the vast improvement is in the technology (both transmit AND receive) or in my new-found appreciation of color and detail. The whole shebang was most impressive, whatever the reason. I had a state-of-the-art teevee in the way-back... a pretty decent combination PAL/SECAM Sony Trinitron... and the Charles-Diana nuptials weren't nearly as impressive. Or at least I don't remember them as being so.
Yeah, I watched Chuck and Di on teevee. With my mother-in-law. The in-laws were over on their first state visit (they came every year TSMP and I were in Ol' Blighty); Mom and I elected to stay home while TSMP and the FIL got up at oh-dark-thirty and caught the first train out of High Wycombe into London for a 20-second glimpse of Chuck and Di as they trotted past in the carriage. I think the MIL and I got the best of that deal... we had sandwiches and beer at hand, nice comfy places to sit, facilities for when nature called, and no crushing crowds. But TSMP and her father had the bragging rights, I suppose. They were really "there," for what that's worth.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Well I tried to make it Sunday, but I got so damn depressedWe descend into pop dregs for this one. Still and even, the tune does call up some superlative memories. Pop is good like that, innit? "Sister Golden Hair Surprise," indeed.
That I set my sights on Monday and I got myself undressed
I ain't ready for the altar but I do agree there's times
When a woman sure can be a friend of mine
The wind abated. It didn't stop, but it's down to what the Ol' Man useta call a "Dull Roar," meaning a constant speed of 15 mph with gusts of 20. So... we have our awning down and are taking Happy Hour on the verandah today, for the first time in I-don't-remember-when. Srsly. I really cannot remember the last afternoon we spent outside with book, beer, and cigar. But let's not complain, let's simply enjoy.
We look a LOT like this today...
Only with different glasses.
Heh. Apropos o' that... Fox News has preempted Red Eye for three days of recycled royal wedding coverage... stuff that ran earlier in their programming day and re-runs to fill space... beginning Tuesday and ending tonight. As if anyone in these United States gave a Big Rat's Ass, especially at 0300 hrs (ET). They are VERY close to bein' added to my ever-growing Midnite Firebombing list.
We spent a few hours in The Big(ger) City™ yesterday, the main purpose bein' yet another follow-up after eye surgery, and I'm happy to report everything is cool. I also took the opportunity to ask Dr. Simnacher's wonderful staff to adjust my reading glasses, which they did. The large and irritating red spot on the bridge of my nose... not unlike that found on Jupiter... is receding as we speak. One more word o' praise: I was early for my appointment yesterday... way-early, as in an hour, seein' as how I completed the other errands on my list in less than half the time I allotted for them... so I inquired if the good doctor "could fit me in now?" "Why, certainly!" was the answer. I was done and out the door 15 minutes before I was actually supposed to be there as a result and ya gotta love that.
We then traipsed over to Red Lobster and played our Senior Citizen card, sitting down to dinner just after 1600 hrs. There was a time when I wouldn't have been caught dead in a Red Lobster, but that was when I lived on one or the other coasts... including the Great Lakes coast of Michigan... and wonderful, established, and locally-owned seafood establishments were in abundance (brief aside: and one of the few things I dearly miss about SFO). That ain't so here in flyover country... so When In Rome...
I was pleased. I left stuffed to the gills (heh) with a fresh, high-quality salad dressed with excellent balsamic vinaigrette; tasty and succulent lobster tail, shrimp, scallops, rice pilaf, and a baked potato; washed it down with a Sammy Adams Boston Lager; and topped off the whole affair off with a quite good and generous slice o' cheesecake awash in freshly-cut strawberries.
My only complaint? My over-attentive server, who sat down opposite me in my booth at one point and casually inquired "Whatcha readin'?" I know the young man was just tryin' to be friendly, but still... there is a bright line where service is concerned. I want you to be my waiter, not my buddy. OTOH, if you happen to be a Sweet Young Thang with a bright smile and other physical endowments you can sit down and bother me all ya want. Double standard? Sexist? You bet.
Your hockey update: B's in, Flightless Birds out. I watched all of the Boston game and the last period of the Bolts game (Thanks, Versus. I hate you.). Game One of the semi-finals in Vancouver tonight. Go Preds!
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
From my in-box a lil while ago...
Heh. I'm glad they included "blogger" in there. And all y'all thought my hockey stuff was boring, eh? Take THAT!
Speaking of... The Hawks/Canucks game was everything I thought it was gonna be AND a bag o'chips. I mean... Vancouver up 1-0 until there's only 1:58 left in the third period when the Hawks tie it with a shorthanded goal? A penalty shot? In a Game Seven? A penalty on the Canucks at the beginning of OT with the series on the line and the Hawks DON'T score? And what about young Corey Crawford and his magnificent play? That game had it ALL, Gentle Reader. One more thing... so much for popular opinion in 49 of 50 states: Vancouver 2, Chicago 1. You got yer work cut out for ya, Nashville.
That other Game Seven was a snooze fest. Only a die-hard Flyers fan could have been happy with that, as the outcome was never in doubt and Philly won going away. I had a hard time believing the Sabres managed to take the series to seven games based on the way they played last night. Oh, well. Win some, lose some. We'll do it all over again tonight when the Bruins face the Habs in their Game Seven. (Side note: It's just TOO bad the Tampa Bay-Flightless Birds game is on at nearly the same time. If ESPN had the hockey teevee contract we could choose either or both... but NOOOO. Thanks, NHL. You frickin' idjits.)
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Time for some ol' standards and a trip down Memory Lane...
The inimitable Julie London, with the definitive version of this ol' chestnut. I was surprised to see how many "new" artists have covered this tune when I googled it, including one Justin Beeble (or sumthin' like that). Did I go there? Not only no, but HELL NO. I don't wanna hear my favorite tunes ruined by prepubescent heart-throbs, thankyaverymuch.
Speakin' of Memory Lane... did all y'all know there's a famous motel thereabouts?
You're just a memory of a loveIt's on the ocean, I guess you know it well...
That used to be
You're just a memory of a love
That used to mean so much to me
We're just in from running our errands, which included a one-hundred-plus-Yankee Dollar commissary run. I didn't go overboard or anything, it was just the usual stuff. Can you really tell me we're NOT laboring under inflation? I checked my Quicken entries after logging today's transactions and my previous high expenditure for groceries was just over $90.00, and that was a MAJOR food run. I know coz I'm kinda anal-obsessive about logging my transactions.
Beer and cigars? Or food? I need to burn more incense on the altar and pray to The Deities At Hand that I don't have to make that decision... anytime soon, anyhoo.
Cannon Airplane Patch is in the news today, sorta:
MC-130J Takes First Flight: The Air Force's first MC-130J Combat Shadow II aircraft completed its maiden flight, taking to the skies from Lockheed Martin's aircraft plant in Marietta, Ga. The April 20 flight came less than one month after the aircraft rolled off the Marietta assembly line. It is now undergoing a series of flight tests prior to its scheduled delivery in September to Cannon AFB, N.M. This airframe is the first of a new fleet of MC-130Js that Lockheed is building for Air Force Special Operations Command to replace existing MC-130P Combat Shadows that are already decades old. The new aircraft will support covert infiltration, exfiltration, and resupply of special operations forces. AFSOC plans to have the first unit of MC-130Js ready for use in 2012. Lockheed is already under contract to build 15 MC-130Js. (Lockheed release)
It's pretty tough to tell the various C-130 variants apart just by lookin' at 'em, the notable exception bein' the latest C-130s with their new eight-blade high-tech propellers. And the gunships, of course. The Wiki has a good discussion on the various SpecOps C-130 variants here. (click the pic for much larger)
It's gettin' close to that time o' year when I'm entertained in the late evenings by Cannon's C-130s orbiting lazily overhead as we take our after-dinner cigar and whiskey on the verandah. The birds are there all year, of course, but I'm not.
A couple o' items from The Guardian's viral vids list... first, this "train in Thailand" bit that's been around for a while:
And then there's the glories of socialized medicine...
Heh. I'm thinkin' ALL vampires have stinky breath. But I don't really wanna know.
Your hockey update... The Kings are out; Tampa Bay forces yet another Game Seven by beating the Flightless Birds rather handily last night. I'd be more than disappointed if I were a Kings fan as this was the closest series in the first round, so far. By that I mean three of the four Kings losses happened in overtime. Hockey is a game of inches, both literally and figuratively.
So... the West's second round will be set after tonight's game in Vancouver. If Vancouver wins the Wings get the Sharks and the associated killer travel schedule; if Chicago wins the Wings keep home ice and get the Preds in the second round. Home ice would be nice but I really don't care who wins tonight; I'm just here for the show. At the moment.
Monday, April 25, 2011
From my in-box:
April 25, 2011
You can cast your online vote for your favorite military blog in each category on the Milblog Conference website.
Click here to vote.
Voting will close on Thursday, April 28, at 7pm EST/4pm PST.
The names of winners will be sealed until Friday, April 29, where they will be revealed at the Sixth Annual Milblog Co nference.
After the voting closes, I won’t even know the results up until the winners are announced on Friday, so make sure to keep up with the Twitter hashtag @milblogcon for news being posted by bloggers at the Milblog Conference.
Winners are not required to attend the Milblog conference to receive an award. Each finalist is welcome to send me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) with their contact information or someone that is attending the conference who is entitled to accept a Milbloggies award on their behalf.
The results will be posted online after the Conference.
The astute among ya will remember I was shocked to note I've been nominated in the "Military Veteran" category. I have NO ideer if ya can vote more than once; the site isn't clear on the concept. I DO know I have at least one vote, however.
You can vote here, assuming the poll is still open (scroll down to the bottom of the page). Nearly ALL of America is behind the Hawks on this one... and note there were 152 votes from New Mexico. I find that passing strange. Me? I voted for the Canucks.
I'm still making the rounds o' the hockey columns and blogs and came across this lil gem:
I am proof that you don’t need to know or even understand all the rules and ins and outs of hockey. For me, that’s what keeps it interesting. There’s always something new to learn. Like life, we should go to every day ready to learn and to grow. Life is too short not to. If you already know everything there is to know about hockey, then I tip my hat to you. You’re smarter and better at this than I’ll ever be.
Pick your game, pick your team, pick your player. Even if you don’t understand it, there’s always magic to be found somewhere in hockey.
-- Samantha, writing about minor league playoff formats at Kukla's Korner.
Added, 1400 hrs: Alanah...
Added, 1400 hrs: Alanah...
Yes. Note that these two excerpts come from women hockey fans/bloggers. God Love 'Em.Game 6 was a thriller, not just because of the hockey, but because of what was on the line. But despite the loss—and yes, I’m not a rock: it freaks me out as much as any other Canucks fan—I also got to enjoy a great game where my team no longer looked like they were dazed and confused, but were back to playing their game. And at the other end, a Chicago team which has had a heroic resurrection and has played with all kinds of heart, and pulled off a heart-pounding overtime win.
Playoff hockey at its best.
Bottom line is this: In the first three games, Chicago faced a 4-game sweep; In the these last three games, it’s Vancouver facing a 4-game sweep, of a sort.
So it’s a draw. And now it’s a one game series. Game 7, winner take all.
And contrary to some others, I like Vancouver’s chances. But more than that, I bet two teams put on one great performance on Tuesday night and I wouldn’t miss it for anything. Even if it damn near kills me.Bring it on.
The Nashville Predators made history of a minor sort last night by advancing to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in franchise history and Tennessee seems to be catching hockey fever as a result. Here's David Climer, writing in the The Tennessean:
OK, OK. I realize that right now they’re rolling their eyes about all this in Montreal, Toronto, Detroit and those other NHL cities that own multiple Stanley Cups.
To them, the thought of celebrating a first-round playoff victory is a punch line.
Note to all you hockey snobs: Stick it. Or high-stick it, if you will.
Things are different around here. The Nashville Predators franchise has a born-on date of Oct. 10, 1998. Its previous five playoff appearances were all one-and-done quick exits. Advancing to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs is a big deal. Get over it.
Well, some of us are rolling our eyes, but not in the way ya think. Here's Paul Kukla, writing in his blog:
OK, OK, David Climer, I gave you a pass yesterday when you mentioned Stanley Cup and Toronto in the same sentence, but today, you must stop. Do you realize when the Leafs last won the Cup, there were six teams in the league. Please, if/when you write about hockey, do some research and no, I am not a hockey snob. But understand, more hockey people than ever will be reading your columns, so be prepared.
One more thing, Montreal does celebrate a first round victory, all you have to do is follow the game to know that.
Point, counter-point (I ALWAYS see Jane Curtin when I write that); both well taken. Toronto used to be a hockey power... much as Rome used to be a superpower. Same-o, same-o.
As for me? I'm glad Nashville advanced; I'm even happier Dee-troit didn't have to face the Preds in the first round. Pekka Rinne seems to have the Wings' number as Nashville took four of six games in their series this year. We all know the playoffs are different, so I expect the Wings would triumph IF they meet Nashville in the next round, or even in the Western Conference Final. Neither scenario is beyond the pale...
Will Nashville meet Detroit in the second round? That depends. IF San Jose wins their series against El-Eh and IF the Hawks pull off the "who'd a thunk it?" Game Seven win over Vancouver, then yes... our second round opponent will be the Preds. But those are two humongous "ifs."
Game Seven. There's nothing quite like a Game Seven in the playoffs... nothing. We'll have TWO of 'em tomorrow night: the Flyers face the Sabres after their OT win in Buffalo yesterday and the Hawks play the Canucks after yet another OT win. About that Hawks game...
CHICAGO – There is still one final excruciating chapter to be played out in this story and there will likely be more twists and turns between now and the puck-drop for Game 7 on Tuesday night.
But know this. For all the intrigue and drama already generated by the two teams through the first six games of their Western Conference quarterfinal – and Game 6 on Sunday night was basically The Godfather, Gladiator and Avatar rolled into one three-and-a-half hour epic - the final act will define this edition of the Vancouver Canucks for the next five years.
All the promise, all the talk, means nothing now. It comes down to one game which will be remembered in this market for a long, long time; not that Game 6 will be easy to forget.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
1 Peter 1:3
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead...
Image: Sistine Chapel. Hendrick van den Broeck (1519-1597) — Scenes from the Life of Christ: The Resurrection of Christ (H).
(Yes... it's the same thing I
posted last post every year. Some things cannot be improved upon.)
Saturday, April 23, 2011
One of my "roots" beers...
... and a new cigar. The beer is a 1554 from New Belgium, as any fool can plainly see, while the slightly outta-focus cigar is a new-to-me cu-avana Intenso. This is the STRANGEST cigar I have ever lit, bar none... and that's because of the intense peppery-spice on my lips as I'm smoking. It's as if the torcedore dipped the finished cigar in some sort of hot sauce when he or she finished putting it together (I like to think my cigars are rolled on the substantial thigh of a zaftig brown sweetie, but that's just ME). Cubans are known for their practice of dipping the draw end of cigars in sugar water to sweeten the taste in the mouth, but this is the first time in over 30 years of serious cigar smoking I've ever had a stick as spicy as this. It's not bad and I kinda like it although I AM surprised there's no mention of this character in the linked review.
So, here we are... all prepared for the beginning of Game Three... Bruins-Habs... of a four-game marathon. It's really, rilly nice to watch hockey without stress, yanno? By that I mean I ain't got no dogs in today's fights, it's just pure entertainment. We'll begin stressing again towards the end o' next week when the Beloved Wings get back in action.
It's the weekend, so I exercised my option of sleeping until noon (am I regressing to my teenage years?). So I wake up, turn on the teevee (mainly because of today's hockey orgy... non-stop games from 1000 hrs MDT until sometime after 2200 hrs), and see the Flightless Birds are down 7-0 to Tampa Bay.
That was about three minutes into the third period and it got a little better for that reprehensible collection of the diminutive
And now it's time to change the channel and watch the Rangers - Caps game. Have I mentioned I love this time o' year? I have?
Friday, April 22, 2011
Finalists have been chosen in the Fifth Annual Milbloggies.
I apologize for the slight delay, but voting will start on Monday, April 25.
The online voting will be handled by Voices Heard Media using their powerful and easy-to-use polls.
An announcement will go out by e-mail via the Milblogging.com newsletter and will also be posted on the Milbloggies site on Monday as soon as voting is ready to begin.
In the meantime (in no particular order), here are the 2011 Milbloggies Finalists.
Thank you to everyone who entered their nominations.
See the full list of Finalists here.
And why the "Hoo Boy?" Only because this is the competition...
U.S. Military VeteranNo. Chance. In. Hell. I mean... WTF? Me and my blogfaddah in the same category? Oh, well. It was nice bein' nominated... and MANY thanks to all you Gentle Readers who took the time to put a good word in for me. I love you ALL.
This ain’t Hell http://thisainthell.us/blog
The Stupid Shall Be Punished http://bubbleheads.blogspot.com/
Bouhammer’s Afghanistan & Military Blog http://www.bouhammer.com/
Argghhh! The Home Of Two Of Jonah’s Military Guys http://www.thedonovan.com
Afghan Quest http://afghanquest.com/
The Sniper http://www.thesniper.us
Toby Nunn’s Briefing Room http://www.tobynunn.com
Exile in Portales http://exileinportales.blogspot.com/
Neptunus Lex http://www.neptunuslex.com/
Red Bull Rising http://www.redbullrising.com/p/about-this-blog.html
... with yet another Perfect Pour:
I'm livin' proof that practice makes perfect, eh? I must say life is good here on The High Plains of New Mexico despite the miscellaneous moans, groans, bitches, and complaints in the post immediately below.
Beer may not be THE answer but it certainly works in most cases. That depends entirely on what the question is, don't it? Prosit!
... to post a few minor bitches and complaints.
First: My new reading glasses are digging a hole in the bridge of my nose and it hurts. It seems like I'm incapable of tweaking frames to fit painlessly and I don't know why this is. My optometrist manages to fit my new frames perfectly the first time, every time. There ain't no optometrist at the reading glasses display in Walgreen's, though.
Second: It's been nearly a month since I told ya my wash'n'fold service folded (heh). I still haven't mustered what it takes to get my Old Ass down to the laundromat and I'm running out of clean clothes, very rapidly. To further complicate matters I'm under certain restrictions concerning how much weight I can lift for a couple o' weeks following Eye Surgery, Round Two... no more than ten pounds... and I have about 30 pounds of dirty laundry. I may be reduced to goin' nekkid for a while. I apologize for planting that image in yer brain, Gentle Reader.
Third: THE WIND! Aiiieee. Let me up, I've had ENOUGH!
Fourth: I was saving the
best worst for last. This bitch:
"Which bitch is that, Buck?" The bitch that does the voice-over in the video. She's EVERYWHERE these days and has THE most annoying voice imaginable. I just KNOW she's gonna be the soundtrack in my personal hell if the major religions are right and I'm wrong about the existence of The Hot Place. OTOH, I may be doomed to come back as one of her kids if the tenets of my religion pan out. "Fingernails on a chalkboard" ain't half the analogy I'm lookin' for... let's just say this woman's voice makes Sarah Palin sound like Sarah McLachlan. That's sayin' a LOT, Gentle Reader.
Or an epic collapse? The Canucks stunk up their arena tonight, losing to the Hawks by a 5-0 score. While not taking anything away from the Hawks... who played their asses off tonight, mainly coz they HAD to... I'm leaning towards collapse, rather than comeback. I have to admit this IS one helluva turnaround for the Blackhawks, especially if it continues.
Back to the collapse. The Canucks looked like the Keystone Cops on skates tonight; they were SO bad it was almost funny. Luongo's implosion continues, what with him giving up four goals on 12 shots before he was pulled early in the second after Marian Hossa scored his second goal of the night on a beautiful breakaway. The Canucks power play was non-existent, going 0 for 4 while their penalty killing was just as listless, allowing the Hawks to go 2 for 5. The Hawks came out like a house afire tonight, scoring early and often. It was 3-0 by the end of the first period and things only got worse for the hapless Canucks. It must suck to be embarrassed that badly in your own barn... the Vancouver fans booed their team off the ice at the end of the game (those that were left)... but the Canucks deserved it. This has the makings of one of the worst collapses I've ever seen, if not THE worst.
Game Six is in Chicago Sunday evening and I'm through with making predictions. That said, Big Mo is most definitely with the Hawks now. Sunday will be MOST interesting!
Update, 1145 hrs: There's lotsa hand-wringing over the Canucks across the length and breadth of The Great White Up. Here's Damien Cox writing in the Toronto Star:
Surely, it's not possible.
Not two years in a row. Not to these Vancouver Canucks.
But my oh my, if the Canucks choke away this entire Western Conference series to the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, it would be a collapse that would dwarf last year’s Eastern Conference series in which the Boston Bruins blew a 3-0 series lead and lost to the Philadelphia Flyers.I watched a video of two Vancouver hockey columnists talking about last night... and the Canucks, in general... wherein they described the situation as analogous to a Friday night horror movie, with the Hawks in charge. Or, as Joe Biden might say, "This is a big fuckin' deal!"
Why? Well, because Vancouver was the NHL’s best team during the regular season, and because in the first 2 1/2 games of this series they seemed to make a convincing statement that their historic problems with the Hawks were all a thing of the past.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
(Ed: Note the red in the stands; them's WINGS fans! So much for the "White Out.")
So... we were up waaay too late with the usual, customary, and reasonable result: serious oversleepage. If'n you're a hockey fan you already know and have read all about it elsewhere: the Beloved Wings swept the Feral Dogs. There wasn't much doubt about this series after Game Two and Game Three pretty well confirmed my suspicions. But we're VERY superstitious when it comes to hockey, so we refused to go on about a sweep until when and if it actually happened. And that has come to pass... without a couple of key Wings players, too.
So the Wings have a lot o' time to rest before the next round, which might not get underway for another week. I could see the Anaheim - Nashville series going to seven games and the same could be true of San Jose - El-Eh, if El-Eh evens it up tonight. Chicago should be off to the golf course after tonight's game in Vancouver. I really don't care who the Wings get in the next round... I'm thinkin' the Beloved Wings are strong enough to beat just about anyone at this point, assuming Zetterberg and Franzen get healthy. We'll need those guys for the next three rounds.
Snake-bit: That was SN1 last night. He's in transit from Shaw Airplane Patch in South Carolina to the Army Command and General Staff College somewhere deep in flyover country and overnighted in or around Nashville last evening. He called around mid-way through the second period and we proceeded to do Our Thang, which is drink beer and watch the game together but separate. So, all's well and good until I get a frantic call with about four minutes left in the third... his cable system in the motel went pftttt! The Wings were only up by one goal at that point and the outcome was still in doubt (not really, but I have to say that). So, we did our best sports announcer impression and kept The Major informed of events as they happened. I learned something semi-relevant, too: I wouldn't give up my day job (if I still had one) for a career in hockey broadcasting.
And then there's this... from the (other) usual source:
Forest Reaper: The Tactical Reconnaissance and Counter-Concealment-Enabled Radar, capable of detecting targets buried, concealed, or concealed under foliage, finished flight testing on an MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft, announced Lockheed Martin, the radar's maker. Before the MQ-9 trials, testers flew 100 sorties with TRACER on manned platforms to validate the radar's ability to "provide commanders with intelligence not currently available from higher frequency radars or electro-optical systems," said Jim Quinn, Lockheed's reconnaissance systems vice president. During the MQ-9 tests, they focused on assessing TRACER's ability to identify targets of interest that would be relevant to US military commanders in places like Africa, Southwest Asia, Central and South America, and the Pacific, according to the company. TRACER is carried in a wing-mounted pod; the dual-band (UHF/VHF) synthetic aperture radar system is capable of immediate image downloads to ground stations. Lockheed currently has four deployable TRACER kits. The Army has sponsored TRACER's development. (See also FlightGlobal report)
"Targets of interest" in Central and South America? Is the DEA and the military merging? Now there's a conspiracy theory worth worrying about...
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Lou and I had an exchange about reading glasses in comments to the post immediately below that went sumthin' like this:
Or, you can wear them on your head as an accessory - like me.
I prefer the Eccentric Old Fart look, Lou. You know: glasses perched on the end of the nose so's ya can look over the top of 'em and sneer when ya say "Get OFF my lawn!"
Well, I've been practicing that look.
Needs more work. Ya think?
First... from the usual source:
Doom and gloom in two different flavors, both of which might could be fatal.
And then there are these, from the (other) usual source:
J-20 Back in the Air: The Chinese J-20 stealth fighter has reportedly returned to flight testing, completing a publicly witnessed flight in recent days that was much longer than its first reported flight back in January. Britain's Daily Mail reported Tuesday that a J-20 aircraft took to the skies this past weekend from an airfield in Chengdu in southcentral China in a flight meant to coincide with the 60th anniversary of China's aviation industry. It cited a report in a Chinese Communist Party-owned tabloid that included alleged new J-20 photos. US officials have said they were not surprised when China unveiled the J-20 late last year. However, they have acknowledged that the J-20's emergence has shown that China may be making progress in the design of advanced combat aircraft more quickly than the United States had anticipated. (See also Reuters report and Navy Intel Assesses the J-20 from the Daily Report archives.)
Keeping Orbital Operations Safe: The Air Force's Phased Array Warning System radars, known as Pave PAWS, earlier this month played an important role in preventing the evacuation of the International Space Station. Data from their monitoring of a roughly six-inch chunk of debris on a near-collision course with the station allowed the station's three-member crew to remain on board and not have to leave out of safety concerns using Russia's Soyuz capsule. With the help of Pave PAWS tracking data, the Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., determined that the debris piece would harmlessly pass by ISS on April 5, much to the crew's relief. The Pave PAWS radars are located at Beale AFB, Calif., and Cape Cod AFS, Mass. The piece of debris causing this scare resulted from China's irresponsible shootdown of a Chinese weather satellite in January 2007. (Cape Cod report via Diana Barth)
Ah, yes. The Chinese. They hold trillions of our debt and STILL have enough money to develop fifth-generation fighters and anti-satellite weapons. As for us? Barack The Magnificent wants to cut $400 billion out of the DoD budget and build choo-choo trains. Liberals love trains, yanno. But fighters? Not so much.
Speaking of two-fers... there were two excellent hockey games on the toob last night, assuming "good" means lotsa goals. Chicago (finally) found its game and took it to the Canucks last evening, salvaging some pride on home ice while savaging Vancouver in a 7-2 goal-fest. The game got chippy in the third period, with five Canucks cooling their heels in the penalty box at one point. The Zebras handed out six ten-minute misconducts in the third period and there were a total of 96 penalty minutes during the game. One is tempted to deploy the "too little, too late" cliché, but "too little" doesn't work given the number of goals Chicago scored. Too late fits, though... as 162 teams have tried to dig out of an 0-3 hole in the NHL's storied past, and only three have succeeded.
I have to admit I fell asleep during the second intermission of the Hawks-Canucks game, as the outcome was decided by then. But I woke up in time to catch the very end of that game and stayed awake for El-Eh - San Jose. The Kings jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period and increased their lead to 4-0 at the beginning of the second; it looked like it was all over but for sobbing Sharks. Heh. Wrong! The Sharks began to systematically tear down the Kings' castle in a determined goal-by-goal effort, chipping away in a onesie-twosie manner to tie it up in the very last seconds of the second period. The game went into OT, given the totally defensive, goal-free nature of the third. The Sharks won it by a 6-5 score three and a half minutes into the OT, capping off an incredible comeback. You don't often see a team fight its way back from a 4-0 deficit to win... and you don't often see 20 goals scored in only two games, come to think on it. But you saw that sorta thang last night. And it was good!
Speaking of good... the Beloved Wings can end the Feral Dogs' season over in Phoenix tonight, assuming said Feral Dogs aren't too inspired by Chicago's last-gasp heroics in their potential elimination Game Four. Anything can happen, of course, but it's pretty safe to say the Dogs ain't the Hawks. We shall see what we see at 2230 hrs (ET) this evening.
Let's Go Red Wings!
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
...of a fortnight ago:
Today was a classic case of "Second verse, same as the first!" Sorta. This week's Adventures in Aging went a lot faster than our last, seein' as how Dr. Watterberg only had about half the procedures today as she did last week. We were at Roosevelt General at 0800 hrs and asleep in El Casa Móvil De Pennington around 1015 hrs.
As for the procedure itself... I went in thinkin' it would be a piece o' cake, since Round One went really well. Well... not so much, to my surprise. I felt a lot more discomfort this morning and Dr. Watterberg made a couple of "sorry!" remarks when I winced a time or two. The process seemed to take longer, as well. But mebbe that's coz I wanted this to be OVER, thank ya. And over it is. Don't get the wrong ideer, Gentle Reader. This wasn't an ordeal or anything... just minor discomfort. I've had a helluva lot worse experiences at the dentist, believe me.
So we're enjoying our long-delayed morning coffee and just hangin' out until it's time for our first follow up this afternoon. I have to wear The Fly's hand-me-down eye for the rest of the day and can't drive until tomorrow. And we WILL drive tomorrow, straight to Wally-World to buy us some interim reading glasses for computer and close-up work. It is now perfectly clear to me I was using my unfixed eye to do those sorts of things for the past two weeks... mainly coz I can't see close up worth a damn now. The work-around ain't workin' out too well, either:
No computer for YOU the rest of the day, Bucko!
Update, 1350 hrs: I replaced the first image with one I like better, mainly coz I can be a vain sumbitch at times. And, apropos of not much, I got the Usual, Customary, and (un)Reasonable post-op briefing which contained the "no alcohol for 24 hours" warning... at which time I stopped the post-op nurse and asked "why?" "We're required to say that," was the answer, followed by an off-the-record discussion about alcohol, anesthesia (which I didn't have), and other germane topics. Bottom line: there WILL be a Happy Hour this evening, just as there was last evening.
Update II, 1745 hrs: Zounds! I'm not one to flog dead draft animals, but now that I'm binocular the improvement in my vision is simply astounding. We're back from the first follow-up over in The Big(ger) City™ and all is good. Better than good, since I had granddaughter Felicity whip by Walgreen's so I could pick up a pair of spiffy new reading glasses, and Boy Howdy can we ever see clearly now! I'm simply stunned at the improvement, so much so that it brings to mind that ol' '60s-era thang: "The colors... maaaan... the COLORS!" In a completely different context, of course.
OK, enough of that. Let us get down to the bid'niz at hand: beer, a cigar, and hockey!