Sunday, August 31, 2014

Warmish, Redux

It's not even 0900 hrs and it's rather warm (uncharacteristically humid, too) already.   And it looks like the next couple o' days are gonna be rather brutal:

The down side: we might be forced to take Happy Hour indoors today and tomorrow.  There's an upside, too: After Dinner Whiskey Hour will be quite pleasant.  Prolly longer than usual, as well.

Final Frontiers and All That

NatGeo's website has one of the better articles about the Voyager spacecraft and their missions that I've ever seen.  A couple of screen shots (click to embiggen, as always):

Be prepared to spend about a half-hour (more or less) when you go.  It's well worth the time.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Saturday: Play Ball!

Wait, that's not right.  There isn't an iconic term to describe the kick-off (heh) of the college football season, so toss the coin, choose to kick or receive, and let's get underway.  In honor of the first Saturday of college ball season, here's my UCR opening weekend post:

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Rules

I missed this today before I posted, but it would have fit right in with the lead two items in this morning’s post: Time for the new rules for college football fandom.” Samples:

1. As a fan, you have to pick a school, one school, same as if you were filling out applications to, you know, go to school there. You may not be a fan of a conference, teams from a specific state, "West Coast football" or college football in general. Nobody is a fan of college football in general, not even Lee Corso. Nor may you root for Harvard and Yale, any more than you could matriculate at both places, unless you're really, really smart, in which case you're probably building prototype military surveillance nanobots in your MIT dorm room, and/or devising a computerized ranking system* to shame Jeff Sagarin.

1a. Under extenuating circumstances, however, you may have up to three Division I-A rooting allegiances, so long as the schools meet the following criteria:

(a) Your birthplace/family school – especially if an inheritance is at stake, or if a campus library bears your last name.
(b) Al(most)ma mater – the school you transferred from.
(c) The school that actually handed you a diploma. Or would have, if you hadn't finished three credits short.
(d) Your spouse's school, especially if the program is vastly superior to your own, or your spouse cares waaaay more than you do, in which case: good call on getting married!
(e) You're a bandwagon-jumping, low-self-esteem weenie and scurry from Notre Dame to Miami to Ohio State to USC to Boise State depending on the year, the polls and the amount of water flooding into the ship.

If you can't be true to a school, at least be true to your own weaselly nature.


4. If you attended a lower-division or NAIA school, you're allowed to pick a D-I school of your choice. But you must consistently root for that school year in and year out, and it's preferred that the school be geographically close to you.

4a. Or you can just root for Appalachian State every week.

4b. Notre Dame? How very original.


9. You are allowed to root freely against the following schools for no specific reasons: Notre Dame; Notre Dame in their puke-green jerseys; Notre Dame when playing on "Triumph of the Will"-shaming propaganda house organ NBC; USC; any school that plays its fight song approximately 4,387 times per game like USC; Michigan; Miami; Ohio State; any school like Ohio State with a pretentious "the" in front of its name, because otherwise how would we know which Ohio State university they were talking about?; any school coached by Steve Spurrier; any school coached by Nick Saban. (ed: I’d add “any team from Florida” to this list, but that’s a minor quibble.)

You may have noticed that I’m in the 4b fan category. Given that I never went to college, I’m free to root for the school of my choice, under rules Four and 1a (d) above, even if that means I root for my former spouse’s school (The Second Mrs. Pennington is a Notre Dame alumna). And I have been an ND fan for nearly 30 years now and don’t foresee any change in that status on the near or far horizons. It’s way too late to change allegiances at this point in life. While we’re at it, I should mention I’m a fan of, and root for, at least three schools, depending on who’s playing whom: ND, Michigan (the ten year living-in-Detroit connection), and Air Force. For reasons that should be obvious now. The only time I’m torn is when ND plays Air Force…and I well and truly don’t know what to do during that game. Very traumatic, that.

So, to the author of “The Rules,” especially Rule 4b: Put a sock in it. I like ‘em, otherwise.
So there's that.  It's been our practice for the last year or so to post one of the week's best viral vids, taken from here.  There are always exceptions to the rules and today is one of 'em (besides that, fully half of this week's viral vids have to do with ice buckets and we've seen enough of those).  But I DO have a video for ya:


Friday, August 29, 2014

Cleanin' Out the Fridge, a la Buck

All this went into the dumpster about 15 minutes ago:

It really pained me to toss out perfectly good beer, if one defines "good" as beer that's serviceable, of good quality, and from reputable sources.  All of the foregoing are true but there's just ONE fly in this ointment: I don't like these beers.  We'd reached the point where a dozen loose bottles were taking up space that could be occupied by beer I LIKE.  So, out it all went.

I used to be able to give away my beer cast-offs and rejects to the kids from ENMU that lived two doors down but those guys moved out.  More's the pity and what a waste.

Update, 1330 hrs:  Two things.  First, I lied used poetic license in the narrative above.  I hadn't actually thrown the beer out when I wrote the post and there's this, too.  My new(ish) neighbors pulled into their driveway as I was walking to the dumpster with all that beer in hand.  So I walked over, introduced myself and offered them the beer, which they gladly accepted.  It turns out the beer wasn't wasted, after all.  The Deity At Hand moves in strange ways, doesn't she?

So, after a bit o' small talk I jumped into The Tart and motored on over to my local likker locker to... surprise, surprise... buy some beer.  Where I saw this:

Well, now.  The glare blots out most of the top line which sez: "No Alcohol Sales."  Bummer!  It's a great good thing that I NEVER let the available beer supply fall below the one six-pack mark now, innit?

Not Your Father's Air Force XXXV

From the Usual USAF Source...
SrA. Shabree N. Heasell, a geospatial intelligence analyst with the 603rd Air and Space Operations Center at Ramstein AB, Germany, is one of the Air Force's 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2014. As a tactics and training analyst, Heasell identified 43 smuggling routes across a 193-square-mile area, leading to the discovery and elimination of 12 enemy workshops, 20 improvised explosive devices, and 50 weapons caches. She developed nine primary and alternate evacuation routes for the Secret Service, ensuring the safety of the President of the United States and 223 staff personnel during the President's diplomatic visit to Africa. Heasell also volunteered 1,270 hours for 15 organizations and led 350 volunteers through 53 events, raising more than $2 million in sales and proceeds that were donated to local schools and charities. Air Force Magazine is shining the spotlight on each OAY in the days leading up to AFA's Air & Space Conference that starts on Sept. 15 in National Harbor, Md. AFA will honor these airmen there.
First of all: congratulations to SrA Heasell on her selection as one of USAF's 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year.  That's a Big F'in Deal (as Uncle Joe would say).  That said, take a look at the right hand screen the SMSgt is using.  Wikipedia?  Wiki-Freakin'-Pedia?  This photo is supposed to represent intelligence operations, innit?  And The Wiki is a source?  This is the sorta thing that makes me entreat The Deity At Hand to save us.  Please.

I've Been Doin' It Wrong

I recently learned I've been eating sushi wrong, after oh, say, 45 years or so.  This is supposedly how one does it:

OK,  Naomichi Yasuda is Japanese and he's a master sushi chef so there's no arguing with his credentials.  That said, I will continue to mix my soy sauce and wasabi together, thank you very much.  And I eat individual fish pieces with my fingers, not with hashi.  I know, I know... I'm a barbarian gaijin.

In other news....  Speakin' o' doin' it wrong, there's this:

Would someone please explain WTF that thing is eclipsing the sun?  It LOOKS like a hockey puck, kinda-sorta, but I don't think that's what this means.

Update, 1430 hrs:  All is explained in comments about that eclipse thing.  To my GREAT shame.

Thursday, August 28, 2014


I dunno about a failure to recognize emotions, but I DO know people spend waaay too damned much time looking at their phones.  That would be ALL people, not just the young.

In other news... today is one of those dates that I'll never, ever forget.  It was 51 years ago today that I raised my right hand and solemnly swore "that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic...", amongst other things.  Today was also the day I took my first ride in a jet, flying in a 707 from El-Eh to San Antonio.  To say what happened on this date was a life changing event is a massive understatement; things were never the same after this day.  Totally.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sixty Years

From the Usual USAF Source:
C-130 Marks 60 Years in Production
Archived photo of the YC-130 Hercules during its ferry flight from Burbank, Calif., to Edwards AFB, Calif., on Aug. 23, 1954. The C-130 is still in production today, making it the longest running military aircraft production line in history. Air Force photo.
In 1954, Dwight D. Eisenhower was in his first term as President and an expansionist Soviet Union was generating global tensions in the emerging Cold War. On Aug. 23 of that year, a four-engine turboprop transport took its maiden flight at Lockheed Martin's plant in Burbank, Calif. Sixty years later, the C-130 Hercules still is in production, making it the longest running military aircraft in continuous production in history. The Air Force took delivery of its first C-130As in December 1956, and a total of 428 different models of the Hercules are being flown by nearly every major Air Force command, the Air Force Reserve, and the Air National Guard. Hercules also are operated by the US Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard and are in military or civil use in 70 countries. According to Lockheed Martin, a total of 2,471 have been produced. And the latest model, the C-130J Super Herc, continues to roll off the assembly lines. "In its first six decades, the C-130 shaped aviation history, redefined industry standards and exhibited flexibility that other aircraft have yet to match," George Shultz, Lockheed vice president and general manager C-130 programs, said in a company release. (USAF release).
Note that Mr. Shultz  said "its FIRST six decades."  I don't have much doubt the ol' Herky Bird will still be flying somewhere at the end of the 21st century.  The aircraft will most certainly have a longer life than I will.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Is It October Yet?

Department of Redundancy Department:

Sigh.  Our teevee is getting a LOT of rest this summer.  Which ain't new or different from summers past.

H/T for the image: Rummy.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Keepin' It Clean...

First, there's this from the Usual USAF Source:

Air Frame: A KC-135 Stratotanker taxis through the wash rack, also known as a bird bath, after a mission Aug. 18, 2014. The KC-135 is assigned to the Tennessee Air National Guard's 134th Air Refueling Wing. (Air National Guard photo by TSgt. Jonathan Young)
I learn sumthin' every single day; today I learned there actually IS a way to wash airplanes that doesn't involve two or three one-stripers, brushes, buckets, and hoses.

And there's this, in the not-so-clean category: "The complete guide to swearing at work," from Quartz.  An excerpt:
Modern media tell us that workplace swearing is cool. Take Martin Scorsese’s latest movie, The Wolf of Wall Street, whose brash yet professionally successful characters dropped 506 f-bombs, a record for a feature film. In a 2006 survey by Associated Press/Ipsos (pdf), 74% of Americans said they encountered profanity in public frequently or occasionally and 66% said that as a rule, people curse more today than 20 years ago.

There are some prominent examples. After the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, US president Barack Obama famously commented on the Today show that he’d been talking to experts about the spill to figure out “whose ass to kick.” T-Mobile CEO John Legere, a renegade executive known for his potty mouth, badmouthed competitors AT&T and Verizon at a recent press event by saying that “the fuckers hate you.” Former Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz once told her staff at an all-hands meeting that she’d “dropkick to fucking Mars” anyone whose company gossip ended up on a blog (which her comments promptly did).
The article is fairly interesting, what with its links, statistics, studies, and recommendations.   I agree that a well-placed f-bomb can do wonders in getting your message across and I used that tactic more than a few times in my civilian career.  We won't talk about my Air Force career, where it seemed like every other word outta my mouth could be described as "purple prose."  I'm tryin' to clean my act up now that I'm fucking retired. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Burnin' Some Rubber


I found this fascinating and watched the vid at least four times.

In other news... we went to bed (well, "went to couch" would be much more accurate) around 2130 hrs last evening with predictable results: up at oh-dark-thirty.  I have a feelin' nap time will arrive a bit earlier than usual today.

In other, other news... SN1 is 48 today, 50 is right around the corner.  I dunno if he feels old or not but **I** sure as Hell do.  Happy Birthday, Buck!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Broadening Our Horizons LXXXIV

It's either a late lunch or an early Happy Hour today and here's what's on the menu:

This is a mePhone pic, believe it or don't.

That would be a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale; I'm about halfway through this glass as we type and so far, so good.  We'll drink this stuff carefully as the alcohol content is a staggering (for beer) 8.19%.  That said, the brew is tasty, indeed.  The Bros like it and I'll quote from their house publication:
Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #51 (April 2011):

The pale amber color and sufficient lacing does not tell much of a story, even though it’s a great-looking beer. At first sniff, the nose is filled with barrel juice from the freshly used bourbon barrels—fusel with sweet vanilla and oak. Has the body of a well-attenuated ale, though there’s warmth from the aggressive alcohol. Hopping is modest at best; the dryness and high level of alcohol seem to balance this beer out. Boozy with fresh bourbon flavors from start to finish. Any sweetness seems to come from the feigned direction of the bourbon as it throws down that vanilla flavor. Some graininess within to remind us that this is a beer. Drinking this one slow. Definitely sets itself apart from all other bourbon barrel aged beers, which makes it a must-try.
Well, OK.  We've tried it but this beer won't go into our normal rotation, mainly because it's pretty damned expensive.  You'll note the beer is sold in four-packs, not six, and it's still pretty damned pricey (14 Yankee Dollars for a four-pack, on the 'net).  An interesting beer, to be sure, but there are better beers out there for less money.

And now it's out to the verandah to finish this puppy off before it gets too damned hot to be outdoors.

Saturday: Can We Get Some More Ice Over Here, Please?

Continuing on with a theme...

God, but I miss that guy.  And his lovely wife... especially his lovely wife.

Occasional Reader Darryl brought this to our attention yesterday (and so did Digg):

Ya gotta admit:  Stewart gets BIG bonus points for style and good sense; minus points for tearing off both the check AND the duplicate plus suspiciously bad-looking whiskey (that looks like a bottle of Chivas, I know he can afford better).

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Lotta Fail

You have to be living under a big-ass rock if you haven't heard about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  Everyone and their Mom seems to be doin' it, but some people prolly shouldn't.  Cases in point:

The best one is at the two minute mark.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Washed and Waxed

That would be our mustache: washed and waxed.  There's this about that:

Monday, September 30, 2013

Project Update

Back in July I posted about starting a new project, to wit: "We've embarked on growing a "regimental" mustache, otherwise known as a "handlebar" (or we're tryin' to do so, at least)."  This was our starting point:

This is where we are now:

And then there's a this, just a few minutes ago:

The project is coming along, albeit much slower than we'd like.  We also seem to be somewhat asymmetrical, with our left side growing faster than the right (there's NOTHING political there), which a good trimming might could fix.  I like projects like this: stuff with minimal effort, something I can do in my sleep.


The problem...

Part of the solution...

Air Frame: Capt. Andrew Glowa, lead, and Capt. William Piepenbring, both with the 74th Fighter Squadron out of Moody AFB, Ga., launch flares from two A-10C Thunderbolt II over the skies of southern Georgia, Aug. 18, 2014. (Air Force photo by SSgt. Jamal D. Sutter)

The full-scale image is impressive, which is why I've included two shots.  The second is a partial full-scale screen shot (which Blogger may or may not down-size), which you can find here

Get Some!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My New Coffee Pot. Again.

So, the Keurig.  When I went to brew my first cup this morning it made several interesting and non-standard noises and then just fuckin' quit.  We made three more attempts to cajole something, anything out of the machine and then WE fuckin' quit.  With no coffee.  No nuthin'.  So we got in the Dowager Tart, drove to Mickie Dee's and bought two large mochas for SEVEN freakin' Yankee Dollars.  And ten cents.  The general public was unaware there was a non-caffeinated gentleman piloting nearly two tons of automobile on the public streets but no one was harmed during that excursion, thank The Deity At Hand.

So, later in the day... after we were fully caffeinated and capable of making (sorta) wise decisions... we hied our old ass off to Wally-World and bought this:

Which was the ONLY Bunn machine Wally had in stock.

And what of the Keurig?  In the dumpster, where it belongs.  Now I have a mini-project to attend to sometime in the near future: cutting open 32 little K-cups and dumping the coffee into a bag.  One last insult.


I wouldn't believe you if you told me this story without the video as back-up.

Sometimes It Bees That Way

The post title is a quote from a former co-worker and friend whom I respected.  Whenever this woman encountered an unpleasant situation or something that was beyond her control the lady would shrug her shoulders, smile, and say "sometimes it bees that way."  I found myself sayin' that a lot yesterday. 

Explanations are in order.  These photos will help:

My Buddy John, standing in the kitchen of my house in Rochester, NY.  New Years Eve, 1998 - 99.

Close-up of the fridge behind John.  The arrow is pointing to "8-19."
Yesterday was an anniversary of sorts, a black-letter day, in that it was 16 years ago to the day that The Second Mrs. Pennington walked out the door, changing my life and the way I use personal pronouns forever.  "We," "us," and "ours" became "me," "I," and "mine."  That was the least of the changes, to put it mildly.  But let's not go there.

Back to yesterday.  I don't usually remember "8/19" and the date is not a day I would celebrate (heh) even if I did.  I stumbled upon the pic you see above quite by accident yesterday morning while searching the archives for something entirely different.  It's said you "can't un-see something once it's been seen" and that was the case with this pic.  Brain cells were jogged, synapses fired and linked, very unpleasant scenes from the past began a gory B-movie re-run, and I've seen THAT gotdamned movie too many times.  To quote Dylan: "I know every scene by heart."  My day was pretty much toast right then and there but we continued to continue, having little or no choice in the matter.

And then... in the afternoon we got an e-mail from TSMP and had a short call-and-response conversation on a health insurance issue with SN3.  I rarely hear from the woman... maybe once or twice a year, on average... and yesterday was most definitely NOT the day for her to barge into my life unannounced.  Another log on the fire, which went from a few stray flames to something pretty toasty.  And so we continued to continue, with an extra-long outdoor After Dinner Whiskey Hour while listening to NPR (in lieu of any sort of music that would make things worse).  Not a bad evening, all told.


There's one skill in life I haven't learned and that skill is the ability to let bygones be bygones.  The Deity At Hand knows I've tried in many, many ways... none of which seem to work... and we won't go further than that.  The bottom line?  Yesterday was not my day.

Ah, well.  Sometimes it bees that way.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

My Muse Decamped. Again.

So, what do we do when our muse leaves us for parts unknown?  We post a re-run, that's what we do.  Like this:

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Couple of Milestones...Plus Ruminations on the Past

It’s the eclecticism… Or, yet another reason I listen to RP almost exclusively these days. From RP’s play list this morning:
“Coffee Monkey” kicked off just as I was draining my first cup; I come back to the desk with my second cup and Sinatra’s on. Oh, Yeah! I just don’t have this sort of wide variety in my music collection. Bill and Rebecca do. And they use it, too.
A couple of milestones passed me by this week…milestones that should be noted.
First: to use the military vernacular, SN2 is working for half-pay as of this past Friday, the 18th of January. That means he has over 20 years of service now, for you non-military types. One is eligible to retire at 50% of base pay at 20 years, ergo: working for half-pay. He won’t retire anytime soon, though. But with the passing of this milestone, planning for his post-military life has begun. Transitions, and all that. Not to mention the fact I’m feeling pretty old, yet again. To think I have offspring that could retire…Aiiieee!
Second: Yesterday marked the passing of one full year since I lit my last cigarette. I still miss ‘em, too. Badly. But I ain’t going back…
Long-time readers of EIP know there’s a guy by the name of Dan who hangs around EIP and comments occasionally. Dan and I go back nearly 40 years and he is my oldest friend (speaking of the duration of the relationship and not his age…although he can qualify in that space, too). We met at Wakkanai AS, Japan in 1968 or 1969 and we were both in the same racket, job-wise…which is to say we were both 303X2s, the USAF job code for aircraft control and warning radar technicians. We were also drafted by the Air Force for a “special duty identifier” job that took us out of Air Defense Command’s radar business and into USAFSS’ spook biz, beginning in Wakkanai and leading a couple of years later to Sinop, Turkey. Dan and I worked together, drank together, rode motorcycles together, and raced ‘em all over Hokkaido, too. Here’s a pic of Dan sitting along side of a road somewhere near Wakkanai at some unknown time in ‘69, framed by his Yamaha DT-1 (on the left) and mine… on the right. 
Dan and I both loved Wakkanai for a number of reasons, not the least of which was, in retrospect, the nature of the job we did. And the bike racing and associated carousing, of course. We both managed to wrangle second tours at Wakkanai after we rotated back to the US in 1970, and we returned to Wakkanai in 1971. Alas, the Air Force had other plans for Wakkanai and for us. In a strange turn of events, USAF announced Wakkanai would be closing shortly after Dan and I returned there in late 1971. The unusually rapid base closure (lights out by the end of 1972, as it were) meant all personnel would be re-assigned to other bases, and Security Service flew in a team of personnel specialists in to handle the short-notice re-assignment process. Dan and I got the short, dirty end of the re-assignment stick. We had two choices: take an assignment to Sinop, Turkey and remain in USAFSS, or turn down Sinop and “get released to Air Force.” While Sinop wasn’t exactly a garden spot assignment, the possible alternatives that came with being released to Air Force for world-wide assignment were decidedly worse. Much worse…like Alaska. So, we opted for Sinop…returning to the US for a short leave before heading off to Turkey for a one-year remote tour in Beautiful Sinop by the Sea.
After our leaves were up Dan and I met in New York and caught Pan Am’s legendary Flight 002 for Istanbul…with an interim stop in Frankfurt. Dan is pictured below in a shot taken during the short layover in Frankfurt. 
After Istanbul we caught a THY Fokker to Samsun, Turkey, and then lucked out and caught the Army’s twin-engined Cessna mail plane to Sinop. I say “lucked out,” because the alternative to the 30-minute mail plane flight was a four-hour bus ride over the tortuous and quite scary mountain road between Samsun and Sinop. Dan and I would make that bus trip a couple of times later on during our tour, but that’s quite another story… and one that won’t be told outside of the bar and amongst good friends. To protect the innocent, of course. Not to mention the guilty…
So. There we were…on the beautiful Turkish Black Sea coast for one long, long year. This is the view of the town of Sinop from The Hill, as the base was known.
The base at Sinop was officially named “Sinop Common Defense Installation (CDI),” which was a euphemism meant to imply the American and Turkish armed forces operated the installation jointly. Which was sorta true, as we had a small Turkish Army garrison collocated with us, but the Turks were separated from the “US side” by high chain link fences, topped with barbed wire. NO ONE got into the US operations compound without some serious security clearances…period. The things we did in there were among the most sensitive of all US intelligence activities at the time. The base itself was run by the US Army Security Agency (ASA) and was otherwise known as TUSLOG Detachment 4. The Air Force was a tenant unit on the base, and had the dual designations of TUSLOG Det. 204 and 6934th Security Squadron…but you never saw the 6934th designation… anywhere… even on base at Sinop. But…that was work. Let’s not go there. Here’s a pic of a small portion of the antenna farm at Sinop, taken near the USAF barracks. That water-tower looking thing is actually a large electronically-scanned antenna array, and was part of the system Dan and I worked on.
And speaking of the barracks…this was our home away from home…
And this is the dorm room Dan and I shared…
So. Our year at Sinop passed rather uneventfully and oh-so-slowly, it seemed…at the time. Now that I’m gifted with hindsight, it was over in the blink of an eye. Dan I went to work, drank a bit lot more than we probably should have, went exploring in the town of Sinop…which has some remarkable ancient ruins and an even more remarkable history. We both hired on to the local closed circuit radio station as volunteers and hosted a late nite rock ‘n’ roll show interlaced with snappy patter and the like. We spent lazy weekend days during the summer on our very own (Army-run) private beach, drinking beer and lusting after what few American women there were in the area. We went down to the Yeni Hotel on the weekends and drank lousy Carlsberg beer while watching European tourists get off the White Boat and walk around Sinop for an hour or two before continuing on their cruise of the Black Sea. And we took that bus ride to Samsun a couple of times for wild nights of raki-fueled debauchery. To quote Dickens: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” In spades, Gentle Reader, in spades. I may have had better years in my life, but danged few…and none come to my mind at the moment. Such is the nature of nostalgia, eh?
To close…Here’s another good Sinop-related site…best I’ve found, actually… that focuses on the military (albeit Army) side of Sinop. The owner of this site preceded Dan and I by about a year and has written a detailed narrative about life “on The Hill” supplemented with lotsa good pictures.
Just to update this post... SN1 is also working for half-pay these days, which means BOTH sons could retire if they had a mind to do so.  I don't think that will happen anytime soon, though.  A further update: I'm still off the ciggies (seven and a half years now) as well, and won't ever go back.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Keurig Broke. Keurig Fixed.

Well, sorta on Part II of the post title.  Last Wednesday I mentioned that my spiffy Keurig machine had apparently lost its feeble lil mind and was only brewing a third of a cup at a time.  It's gotten progressively worse since that time, bad enough for us to actually DO sumthin' about it this morning after I pushed the buttons a record FIVE times to brew a single cup o' coffee.  So we bit the bullet, dove into the manual (old USAF maxim: "When all else fails, read the tech order"), and figgered out what we had to do to get operations back up to par.  We cleaned the needles.  We descaled the machine with white vinegar.

Digression: "Descaling" the machine takes one helluva long time when you (a) fill the reservoir with vinegar, (b) push the damned buttons approximately 63 times to empty said reservoir of vinegar, i.e., run it through the machine a quarter of a cup at a time, and (c) wait FOUR HOURS (per the instructions) before running a reservoir full of water through the machine... once again: much button-pushing... to purge the vinegar.  I began at 0700 hours this morning and finished just before noon, with a short nap during the four-hour wait.

So.  Bottom line?  The machine now makes nearly a full medium-size cup o' coffee when one punches the "large" button.  I suppose that qualifies as success, but I have lingering doubts.  Those old Mr. Coffee machines are looking better and better all the time.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Beastly Weather

Sorry.  I just couldn't help it.  But we MIGHT take our coffee on the verandah this morning.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Saturday, Part Deux: Fabulous Plane Pr0n!

I'd just pulled the trigger on the post below when Occasional Reader and great good friend Lin sent this along:

Who knew they did airshows AT NIGHT!?!

Saturday: HyperFanGirls

Amusing, if you like David Attenborough's style:

Just a casual observation: there's a LOT o' money in orthodontia.  

And then there's this, which is pretty cool stuff.

I'd be looking into that software if I did time-lapse vids.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

It takes a lot o' doin' to out-Stone the Stones but Johnny pulled it off...

But it's alright, in fact it's a gas
Yea, verily... it's a gas, indeed.  Wowie-Zowie!  Guitar pyrotechnics don't get no better than this.

In other news... it's a bit warmish outdoors...

... but not warm enough to keep us indoors.  We might even get some rain before the day is through.

I Want My Maypo!

Heh.  Does the title of the post confuse you, Grasshopper?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

Happy Hour isn't happy today, thinkin' as we are about the pain in one of our blog-buds' life at the moment.  This is for Skip...

Got up this mornin', just about the break of day
A-huggin' the pillow where she used to lay
Got up this mornin', just about the break of day
A-huggin' the pillow where my good gal used to lay
I don't believe there's a pain in this life worse than losing the one you love, especially if she's your wife and life partner.  If you haven't already done so, please stop by Skip's blog and give him your condolences.  Life is hard right now.

Rye Resurgent

There's an interesting article in The Atlantic about the resurgence of rye whiskey over the past few years in these United States.  It may be the article is only interesting to those of us who enjoy a dram or two on occasion and you know who you are.  I thoroughly enjoyed the piece and you might, as well.  Here's a screen-cap of the first few grafs...

Bulleit... my favorite rye... gets a shout-out in the article.  That said, it's been a few months since a bottle o' Bulleit rye has graced my likker locker and the spirit is sorely missed.  It appears the Cannon Class VI is NOT a "decent liquor store" as defined by The Atlantic and more's the pity.  The incompetent management at the Class VI store can't even get Bulleit by special order... and I've tried.  Well, I suppose there's always the inter-tubes, eh?

Update, 1600 hrs:  I'm just in from Cannon Airplane Patch where we did the usual, customary, and reasonable things, which is to say pick up meds from the pharmacy, restock the larder at the commissary, and stop at the Class VI for beer.  While we were at the Class VI we took the opportunity to BITCH about that long-overdue special order for Bulleit rye, long and loud.  The management was all apologetic, saying that no, they hadn't forgotten me, and yes they were still working the order but it's a lot harder these days to special order stuff.  I didn't bother to ask WHY it's harder to fill a special order these days, not wanting yet another chorus of excuses.  Still and even, the woman said she would update me by phone later on this afternoon.  We shall see.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


I might have been the only person in my small circle of blogging friends who didn't acknowledge Robin Williams' passing yesterday.  The Usual Source of political 'toons has a few items dedicated to Mr. Williams today; here's one such:

And from the Usual USAF Source, this:
Military Tribute to Robin Williams
—John. A. Tirpak
​The Pentagon issued a rare tribute to an entertainer on Tuesday. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, in a statement, said "the entire Defense Department community mourns the loss of Robin Williams," whom he described as "a gifted actor and comedian, but … also a true friend and supporter of our troops." Hagel noted that Williams had entertained "thousands of service men and women in war zones" and his philanthropy supported numerous causes "that helped veterans struggling with hidden wounds of war." The Twitterverse on Tuesday filled with stories from service personnel and vets on how Williams had taken the time to visit and talk with them personally, going so far as to seek out and spend time with troops who, because they were on duty, couldn't attend his front-lines performances. Many described him as a modern-day Bob Hope. Williams earned his first Oscar nomination for portraying Air Force Sgt. Adrian Cronauer, an Armed Forces Radio DJ, in the 1987 film, "Good Morning, Vietnam." The United Services Organizations, in a release, said Williams went on six USO tours between 2002 and 2013, including five overseas stints during which he visited troops in 12 foreign countries. This included three stops each in Afghanistan and Iraq.
RIP, Mr. Williams.

In other news...

I'm thinkin' UPS loves this video:

Drop-kicking the package on to the roof is a nice move, eh?

In the "Minor Bitches, Moans, and Complaints" category...  We've been living with our Keurig machine for exactly three months today and I'm not very fond of the thing for one simple reason: it takes too damned long to brew ONE cup of coffee.  The machine apparently has lost its mind, in that it has NO ideer what those three different portion-level buttons on its face are for.  To be clear: one has a choice (supposedly) of brewing either a small, medium, or large cup of coffee, depending on which button you push; MY machine brews exactly one-third of a cup of coffee no matter WHICH button you push.  So every morning we stand at the machine diligently pushing buttons and waiting for the machine to cycle THREE times before we get our first cup of coffee.  I don't think that's the way the machine is supposed to work.

It's always sumthin'.