Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Night Refuel

From the Usual USAF Source...

An F-22 refuels before strike operations against ISIS in Syria, Sept. 26, 2014. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Russ Scalf

I'm beginning to wish I had been a boom operator in my past life.

Monday, September 29, 2014

And Now For the Usual Fallback Post...

... which would be the WX.  Here's what we look like at the moment:

You'll note there's a severe thunderstorm watch in the forecast and I'm here to tell ya the chance of precip here in P-Ville is about 99.3%.  Why?  Coz I gave The Tart her first bath in over three weeks today.  That's why.  All that said, it's a lovely, lovely day out on the verandah.  I think we'll crack open a third beer and continue as we've begun.

Yet Another Slow Day

This is the best we've seen today...

... and that's not sayin' a whole helluva lot.  There are things we COULD say about this 'toon, but we won't.

Have I mentioned the fact we're only ten days removed from the start o' hockey season?  No?  Well, it's true and we're waitin' with bated breath.  I mean, college football is OK and the Tigers won their division but hockey is where it's at, and I understand yer mileage just MIGHT vary.  But mine doesn't.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Sunday Re-Run

With minimum fanfare...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

On Any Sunday...

Well, it’s Sunday. Big Doin’s for NFL fans today and for masochists from all over the US, if not the world, who will tune into the NFC game just to watch people suffer. In a good way, of course. Hell, I might even watch. I watch the playoffs in nearly every other sport, but rarely pro-football. That might change today. There’s sure to be lotsa crowd shots of people in Green Bay whose sensibilities and/or sanity I question. Am I being redundant by sayin’ that? I mean…you have to be jes a lil bit “off” to live in that part of the world, dontcha?

Before I move on to (arguably) “bigger and better” things…there’s this… Best comment on a blog I read yesterday:
· Comment by happyfeet on 1/19 @ 7:06 pm #
Is that different from muesli? I like muesli. Kashi is kind of like muesli plus you get interracial lesbians. Yay!

Yes, it really is a comment. There’s a link hiding up there.
So, it’s Sunday. And once upon a time, in another world, another time, another season, and another life, I would be doing this:

The pic is of YrHmblScrb and several dedicated competitors on the starting line somewhere in the wilds of Hokkaido, sometime in the summer of 1969 or perhaps 1970. The time period is before motocross caught on as a Big Time Sport in the US, and is exactly the point in time when the Nipponese fielded their very first purpose-built MX bikes. Up until about 1971 (or so) if you wanted a competitive MXer you didn’t buy a Yamaha, a Honda, or a Suzuki…you bought a CZ, a Maico, a Husky, or maybe a Bultaco. European, in other words. Or…you could do as most of us did (at least those of us who raced in Japan), you bought a stock dual-purpose bike, tore it down, and rebuilt it with factory “race kits” and after-market items. Like my friends and I did with Yamaha’s immortal DT-1, an example of which I’m sitting astride in this starting line shot.

Motocross in Japan was interesting, to say the very least. Especially in Hokkaido, where the races were generally held on ski slopes, which made for fine MX tracks… what with the changes in elevation, off-camber corners, and relatively wide open straights. That was just the physical aspect of the racing… there were also cultural differences which made for some “interesting” times, not to mention great good learning experiences. And lots of drunken evenings with the local club(s) after practice on Saturday. First and foremost, though: the Nipponese were fierce competitors, and they were competitors with a great sense of honor. There was very little, if any, “dirty” racing; we were all in it for the fun of it. The “fun of it” is pretty much the way amateur racing is anyway, no matter where you go. 
Lotsa fun. And lots of memories, too many of which have faded away, unfortunately. One memory that sticks in my mind, though, is of the evening my friends and I were at the public bath in some small Japanese town after either a hard day of racing or a hard day of practice before the race. Japanese public baths are segregated by gender, with the larger baths having separate facilities for men and women. The smaller baths, however, usually only had a partition (think: movable wall) that separated the men’s and women’s areas in the large soaking bath. And that partition was less than effective. If one really wanted to look into “the other side” from your side… well, it wasn’t hard to do. 

So… there we were… several of us Yankee GI bike racers, soaking in the bath, and there she was… on the other side of the partition, doing the same thing, yet coyly coming into our view every so often. And she was pretty well-built for a Japanese woman, who are generally not known for being… um… well endowed. One could NOT help but notice, and we were certain she was noticing us, as well. But nothing was revealed, really… until one of us, and I really, truly, do not remember who… stood up and gave the lady a lil show of sorts. And she reciprocated, knocking us back on our collective asses, figuratively speaking. It wasn’t blatantly erotic or meant as a come-on, or anything else in that space…just an unobstructed 360-degree view of the “goods,” so to speak, and such very fine goods they were, too. And just as quickly as it began, it was over. She exited the bath with her towel wrapped around her and a big smile on her face. Made our day, she did.  (I’ve told this story elsewhere on the blog, but damned if I can find it…and I looked, too.)

So, anyway. I continued my racing career for a brief time after returning to the US (to Boron Air Force Station, a great assignment for a dirt biker!) and here’s a shot of YrHmblScrb after a Hare and Hounds somewhere in the great Mojave desert. The pic was snapped immediately after I pulled into the pits, and I’m exhausted… which is fairly plain to see. 
My racing days came to an end when I (a) got assigned to Turkey for a year and (b) got old and slow. MX is essentially a young man’s game, although there are classes for “Over 40” and “Seniors” and the like. But that ain’t me. It was a LOT of fun at the time… but times change.

By the way… that woman with the captivating smile behind me in the mud picture? That’s The First Mrs. Pennington. Lovely, isn’t she?
Ah, Former Happy Days.  We had 'em.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Saturday: Ain't Technology GRAND?

Home-made time-lapse video...

Now that's just pretty danged cute.  Apropos o' everything... the selection at the Usual Source is pretty weak this week.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Good News!

I'm thinkin' this one's been around the block a few times before it hit my in-box.  It's still good, though.

Why, yes.  Yes, it IS a slow day for blog fodder.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

For the Nostalgia That's In It

From an article in the Hemmings Daily Newsletter...

 There's a lot to like in this film... the cars, the styles, the attitude, and especially the young boys and girls.  I looked a LOT like the kids in this film, mainly coz I was nine years of age in 1954.  None of the school districts I attended as a child had a program like this and that's too bad.  OTOH, I dunno if I'd have enjoyed "driving" a pedal car around simulated city streets.  These kids seemed to like it, though.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

♪♫ One of these things is not like the others, One of these things just doesn't belong... ♫♪


Get Some!

From the Usual USAF Source...

Here's a link to the photo above.  And then there's this:

Apropos o' not much... those F-22s are SN1's jets, assuming the maintenance guys own the jets and let the pilots fly 'em.  That's the way it works.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cleaning House Today...

... the way it SHOULD be done:

The ladies and gentleman (not pictured, he's doin' the bathroom as we speak) from Excellence House Cleaning do a fine, fine job.  Much better than **I** ever do.


"We have too much stuff," sez one guy.  What an incredible bunch of uninformed, gullible, and likely unwashed people.  And they call people like me "deniers."  What chutzpah.

From Reason's web site.

Yeah, That'll Do It

The comments on this twit-pic are pretty interesting.

In other news... we're still waiting for the other shoe to drop when it comes to the current physical affliction.  I spent nearly the entire day yesterday on the couch but did manage to find an hour to knock back a couple o' beers in the late afternoon.  The back pain seems to be receding (we felt fine when we rolled out this morning, back-wise) but the sore throat is still there.  I'm simply hoping against hope that this is NOT the flu, which could be life threatening... and I do NOT exaggerate a whit... given my COPD.

Monday, September 22, 2014


Ah, the grand exit gesture.  Sorta.  The anchor-lady's response was about as nonplussed as I've ever seen on teevee, but she did manage to get out an apology.

In other news... Yesterday was a total fail.  I woke up yesterday morning with back pains of the annoying sort, which is to say not terribly painful or debilitating, just
irritating.  So I did what any normal person might do, which was to take a couple o' Bayer Back and Body aspirins along with the morning's first cup and a vitamin.  I should have known better... 30 minutes later I was in the bathroom giving the aspirins and that first cup up to The Porcelain God.  We then dosed ourfineself with Pink Stuff and turned to the couch for an hour or two to let the nausea slip away, hopefully.  That almost worked but another dose o' Pink Stuff and about three more hours o' couch time did the trick.  I didn't really get semi-right until about 2100 hrs last evening, at which time I went to bed.  It should go without sayin' that yesterday was one one of those VERY rare days, a day in which we were alcohol-free.  No beer, no whiskey... none at all.  We just weren't up to the challenge, so to speak.  No cigar, either.

So, today.  Same back pain upon awakening with an added, no-extra-charge sore throat.  This is beginning to look like the onset o' the flu, an event I could GLADLY do without.  I don't "do" sick very well at all and I'm certainly not ready for this... if it's what I think it is.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Saturday: Scotland!

Well, it's all over... but we'll always have Paris Edinburgh.  A couple o' things, both amusing, both from the Usual Source, and both funny:

Birthmark.  Heh.  This next piece is much longer, but stay with it... John Oliver is one hella funny guy!

I love Oliver.  I don't always agree with him but his POV on things is ALWAYS entertaining.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Cigar Art XIX

In today's mail... wait, that's not right... delivered by a uniformed driver o' the Brown Truck o' Happiness is the reality o' the situation.  These:

That's a box o' Acid Opulence 3s from Drew Estate, one of my go-to sticks.  Once again, the art is mostly about the packaging, which is a well-constructed solid wood box with a clever three-piece lid.  It almost seems a shame to take these cigars out o' the box and put 'em in the humidor.

Herewith a brief review o' the cigar:

What do I think?  As I said before: the O3 is one of my go-to sticks.  I love this cigar.

A Couple o' Things From Yesterday

Ramirez, first.

The man has a point.  And then there's this:

Hockey soda?  Really?  And what does "pro STYLE" really mean?... not to mention the eye-rolling "functional lifestyle beverage."  MY functional lifestyle beverage is whiskey, thankyaverymuch.

And finally... We're gratified to see the adults in the room prevailed in the Scottish independence referendum.  The United Kingdom is still united, thank The Deity At Hand.

Pro-union supporters celebrated in Glasgow as the result became clearer.  (photo from the Beeb, more here)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Everyone Talks About the WX...

... and I'm no exception.  I prolly do it too much, actually, but weather fascinates me.  Here's what we looked like when I opened the blinds this morning...

And here's the latest ten-day forecast.  

I swear, I've never seen this much rain in the nearly 12 years I've lived on The High Plains o' New Mexico.  All o' this is a great good thing but one wonders if it's gonna be enough to change our drought category from moderate to something less than that.  I DO know that it's gonna be a while before The Tart gets her next bath.

Not Your Father's Air Force XXXVI

Yet another brick in the wall we call "Not Your Father's Air Force:"

That's a screen shot of a blurb in AFA's Daily Report.  The subject of the article... changes to the promotion system on the E-side of the house... obviously doesn't concern me anymore.  I noted with some interest the current system has a maximum rating of five in the various evaluation categories; in my day we used a 1 - 9 scale, nine being best, but that's neither here nor there.  I clicked on the photo accompanying the article to get a better view of CMSAF Cody and then went off to AF.mil to read his bio, among other things.  Here's Chief Cody's official mug shot:

And here's a detail from that mug shot:

There's this, for those of you who aren't familiar with what all those pretty pieces o' cloth mean:
Legion of Merit
Meritorious Service Medal with seven oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Air Force Achievement Medal with five oak leaf clusters
Outstanding Airman of the Year Ribbon
Those are the MAJOR decorations, you'll note Chief Cody actually sports 25... count 'em... 25 ribbons.  Contrast the above with the Air Force's first-ever Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force (the CMSAF position was created in 1967), Paul Airey:

Chief Airey's decs:
Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster
Meritorious Service Medal
Air Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Commendation Medal
POW Medal
(a total of 16 awards and decs)
You'll note both Chiefs were awarded the Legion of Merit.  There's this about CMSAF Airey's LoM:
During the Korean conflict, he was awarded the Legion of Merit while assigned at Naha Air Base, Okinawa. The award, an uncommon decoration for an enlisted man, was earned for creating a means of constructing equipment from salvaged parts that improved corrosion control of sensitive radio and radar components.
Key words: "uncommon decoration for an enlisted man."  Apparently the LoM ain't exactly uncommon any longer.

We've gone on (and on) about "medal creep" a lot here at EIP and this just adds more fuel to my fire.  It's bad enough when our generals walk around with more medals than yer average South American dictator (or Rooshian marshals, see link) but when our senior NCOs sport 25 medals and ribbons, well... I guess my point's made.  And don't get me started about the current CMSAF's ridiculous chevrons.

(No, it's NOT sour grapes.  I know what yer thinkin'.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Semantics & Weather

I find this amusing... not funny, just amusing.  Given our gub'mint's track record on the various and sundry "wars" depicted in the 'toon, perhaps the Obama administration is right in labeling the current military adventure as it has.

This is just as amusing, if not more so:

Today is the sort o' day some folks would call "dreary."  Not me, however.  A nice, long, gentle rain is JUST what the doctor ordered for The High Plains o' New Mexico.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

More from Becker & Fagen...

Children we have it right here
It's the light in my eyes
It's perfection and grace
It's the smile on my face
Tonight when I chase the dragon,
The water may change to cherry wine
And the silver will turn to gold
Time out of mind
Ah, chasing the dragon.  The first entry at the link refers to "hard" drugs like smack or crack cocaine but there are other, more user-friendly dragons, chief among them fine single malts.  Interestingly enough, most of my friends back in the day (that day bein' 1980, when "Gaucho" was released) had never heard the term before and were incredulous when I (a) mentioned the source of the phrase and (b) what it actually meant.  "No!" they all cried, but they soon learned to believe me when I dropped these bits of esoterica on them.  That's me: a mind stuffed FULL o' useless information.

We just might do a bit o' dragon-chasing after tonight's installment of "The Roosevelts" is done, and perhaps even during our teevee time.  Apropos o' not much, have you been watching?  I'm still impressed, very impressed.  It remains to be seen if those feelings will hold when the film begins to concentrate on FDR, who's something of a bête noire to those of us with conservative or small-L libertarian leanings.  We shall see.

Creative Editing

This can't be real...

... and it's not.  But watching this made my blood pressure soar.  Talk about "close calls"... even if they're not real.  Zowie!


I've been following the brouhaha surrounding Thursday's referendum in Scotland, where the Scots will vote whether to secede from the United Kingdom or not.  There's this about that...

I know Mel... or William Wallace, Mel's character... wasn't the only guy who paid the ultimate price in the Scottish Wars of Independence.  But this time around the price will be even higher if Scotland returns a "yes" vote, which will be something like 5,327,700 people committing mass economic (among other things) hara-kiri.  I may be speaking from a position of colossal ignorance but my very FIRST thought about all this is "What the HELL are the Scots thinking?"

Monday, September 15, 2014


It's Monday and it's a pretty slow day, so far.  We've read the overnight mail and made our blog rounds, the upshot bein' we have nothing... zero, zilch, nada... that piques our interest enough to create a post.  So, here we are... reduced to talking about what we watched on teevee last night.  Not that that's a bad thing, mind you, coz this is what was on last evening at El Casa Inmóvil De Pennington:

That would be a screenshot of episode one of The Roosevelts, another tour de force from Ken Burns.  Last night's event featured parts one and two of the seven-part film, which runs all week on PBS.  You can watch all seven episodes here, including the ones scheduled to run all this week (a fact I find middling-strange: why would PBS want to dilute their audience by allowing them to watch episodes before they're broadcast?).  I'll be tuning in tonight and the rest of the week to watch the remainder of the series which, if subsequent episodes are as good as last evening's, promises to be the best thing on teevee this year.

The Roosevelts is "can't miss" teevee, assuming you're an American history buff.  OTOH, you could always go with the flow and watch SpongeBob or the Kardashians, not that there's anything wrong with that.  Much.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Life's Minor Regrets, Line Item #2,361

I never went to Burning Man...

... but I (used to) have friends that go every year.  That was when I was working and living in the Bay Area Soviet Socialist Republic, but dumb-ass me was always "too busy" to take a week's vacation and go.  (Sigh)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Saturday: Off To the Races

My money was on the F1 car before this even started...

I watched this all the way through, given I'm something of a gear-head and most definitely a biker (albeit a retired biker).  The guy on the bike ran a pretty good race even though he came in third.  There's not a bike in the world that can keep up with a car in the twisties... it's all a matter of physics and amount of rubber the vehicles put on the road, as in "contact patch."  Among other things.

Friday, September 12, 2014

It's an Indoor Happy Hour Today


The picture is wrong, coz it's raining as we speak (note the thumbnail radar picture).  I doubt if the AC will run much today but the heat MIGHT.  I like this kinda weather... it makes me feel like watching football tomorrow.  A lot o' football!


So... Skip and YrHmblScrb had this lil exchange in comments yesterday:

  1. Uh, Buck, if being married to a Michigander counts, I have more time in grade than you.
    Oh, and she lived withing spittin' distance of Woodward Ave.
  2. I lived about ten houses west of Woodward (or about three-fourths of a block) while I was in Dee-troit. I couldn't spit that far, but I sure could run it without getting out of breath. Then. (Google 351 West Oakridge Ave, Ferndale)
Bein' the anal-retentive kinda guy we ARE, we immediately went to Google Maps to verify what we said was true concerning our old physical location vis-a-vis Woodward and we received a minor shock in so doing.  This is how I remember the ol' Ferndale homestead:

That pic was taken sometime in the early '90s and note the two large trees in the foreground.  There was another, equally large tree to the immediate left of the two-trunked tree on the left hand side of the pic.  Those were big-assed trees, Gentle Reader, at least 40 to 50 feet worth o' tree, and they towered over the house.  And here's how Google's Street View depicts the house in 2012:

There's significant lens distortion here, given my house was about the same size as the one to the right (in the pic).

Those big-ass trees?  Gone!  The "new" owners of the ol' homestead dropped a significant amount of cash to have the trees removed, if one can believe the cost estimates at this tree service's web site.  I know change happens, it's the way o' the world.  But I don't think this change improved the "curb appeal" of this house... as a s'matter o' fact I think it hurt.  But, Hey!  I can take my opinion, add about three Yankee Dollars to it and buy a cup o' coffee at nearly any Starbucks.

Update, later that same day:  We did it again, just (a) for drill and (b) because we CAN.  Here's a "then and now" of yet another old homestead, this bein' the house I owned in Fairport, NY, a suburb o' Ra-Cha-Cha.  First the near-now:

And the way we were:

I don't have a summer shot of the house, unfortunately, but I think the new owners here have increased the curb appeal significantly.  The ol' place looks a lot better now than it did when I was in it.  

I don't have very many happy memories about this place.  There are a few, granted.  The four years I spent here weren't all THAT bad, especially if one discounts the worst singular experience of my entire life that played out (in slow motion) within the walls of this house.  Forgetting that might be asking too much.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

"Completely Inappropriate"

That's putting things mildly.  The prof critiques an e-mail:

You can't make this shit up and who would want to, anyway?

I need a new tag for stuff like this, something along the lines of "idiots."


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack: Dee-troit!

This is the first and prolly the last time I'll ever post a tune from Bob Seger.  Herewith "Detroit Made:"

I wanted to post the "official" video available at Vevo, but Blogger has issues with Vevo's embed code.  About which, this:
Above, watch the music video for the record's lead single, "Detroit Made," a John Hiatt-penned tribute to the singer's hometown and the cars that it has produced. Shot largely at Detroit's Woodward Dream Cruise, a hot rod parade that passes through the city on the third Saturday of every August, the video features footage of classic rides owned by other Michigan natives.
The offical vid is cooler than cool and I hope you chase that link.  Just a couple o' things... the first bein' any and every time someone/anyone mentions the Dream Cruise I can't help but tell those someones/anyones that I drove my ol' Caddy* in the first-ever Woodward Dream Cruise, and what a fan-fuckin'-tastic THAT day was.  Second: why no Seger here at EIP?  You go live in Dee-troit for ten years and then come back and ask the question again.  I'm the victim of severe Seger burnout due to MASSIVE over-playing of his songs.

* The Cad:

I loved that car even though it was a serious money-sink.  I had other reasons to love that car, aside from it bein' our ride in the Woodward Dream Cruise.  From an old post:
T (he)S (econd)M (rs.)P (ennington) christened the car “The Smokin’, Drinkin’, Partyin’ Car” and she most certainly was that. The best story about that car can only be told in “wink-wink, nudge-nudge” terms and involved TSMP and I splitting the upholstery in the Caddy’s back seat. Or, to put it another way…we were exuberant and the upholstery was old. In our garage. On a Saturday afternoon. Wink-wink, nudge-nudge.  (more on the car here)
Ah, Former Happy Days.  We remember them fondly.

Just For Fanbois

If you're a fanboi you already know all of this.  But, Hey!  We're all about service, dontcha know.  That and we just LOVE those Taiwanese folks who put this sorta stuff together.

And there's this from Digg:
The bottom line: You will feel like a lesser human being if you don’t immediately purchase one of these phones.
Spoken like a true fanboi.


From the Usual USAF Source...

Air Frame: F-16 Fighting Falcons Thunderbirds perform a five-ship formation after refueling from a 92nd Air Refueling Wing KC-135 Stratotanker on Sept. 1, 2014, over Glacier National Park, Mont. The Thunderbirds were making their way back to Nellis AFB, Nev., where they are assigned to the 57th Wing's U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron. (Air Force photo by A1C Janelle Patiño)
Note the photo credit.  I think bein' a USAF photographer HAS to be the best job on the E side o' the house and boom operator would be a close second.  Fixing heavy ground radar would be somewhere near the bottom of the pile.  Go on... ask me how I know about my last.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

We Don't Get Out Much

So, there I was... reviewing the monthly OnStar report those kind folks at GM send me on a monthly basis.  One metric the OnStar folks provide is "average miles driven" during a particular month and here's the graphic:

Quite the difference from days gone by, by which I mean the post title sez it ALL: we don't get out much these days.  I suppose this is graphic evidence that we all slow down in our dotage.  Or at least **I** do, anyhoo.  Those day trips?  I could tell ya where I went, Gentle Reader, but then I'd have to kill ya.  And you don't want THAT now, do ya?

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack, or, Where's My Flying Car?

One half of Steely Dan with the quirky I.G.Y...

Standing tough under stars and stripes
We can tell
This dream's in sight
You've got to admit it
At this point in time that it's clear
The future looks bright
On that train all graphite and glitter
Undersea by rail
Ninety minutes from New York to Paris
Well by seventy-six we'll be A.O.K.

What a beautiful world this will be
What a glorious time to be free 

(full lyrics here)
I was a big, big Steely Dan fan in the wayback, so it was only natural that I'd buy Mr. Fagen's first solo effort and I was NOT disappointed.  I love this album; it's very much like the Steely Dan albums that preceded it before Mr. Fagen and Mr. Becker decided to go their separate ways.  Which is to say a jazzy, upbeat collection of tunes with interesting lyrics, wonderful (and catchy) music with lots o' hooks, and spectacular production values.  What's not to like?

It's a mystery to me as to why I never bought another of Fagen's albums (and none of Becker's), given I like the guy(s) so much.  That said, "The Nightfly" is one of the better efforts to come out of the '80s, an era not particularly known for great, or even good, music.  Here's an excerpt from that last link:
The Nightfly was certified Platinum in both the US and UK, and produced two popular hits with "I.G.Y. (What a Beautiful World)" and "New Frontier". It also received several 1983 Grammy Award nominations. This relatively low-key but long-lived popularity led the Wall Street Journal in 2007 to dub the album "one of pop music's sneakiest masterpieces."[2]
Sneaky? That's an interesting term to describe what's clearly a masterpiece.  But, Hey!  There's prolly no finer endorsement than that given by the Journal.