Monday, September 28, 2009

Wikipedia Veers To The Left....AGAIN

After seeing this cartoon over at Obama Cartoons, I decided I didn't know who Hannah Giles was, so I Googled for her.
Imagine my surprise when I found this heading on her Wikipedia entry:

"This article is being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedia's deletion policy.
Please share your thoughts on the matter at this article's entry on the Articles for deletion page.
Feel free to edit the article, but the article must not be blanked, and this notice must not be removed, until the discussion is closed. For more information, particularly on merging or moving the article during the discussion, read the guide to deletion."

Now, I've generally only trusted the Wikipedia for Scientific and Technology items, things that can be somewhat easily verified by other sources, particularly our old friends BOOKS. I give their other entries the grain-of-salt weighting that I give other sources that I can't verify myself.
I find their Deletion Policy to be pretty open-ended, subject to interpretation, and pretty arbitrary, which of course is their right, since they run the website.
The thing that struck me about this particular entry was not that it was flagged for editing, but flagged for deletion.
There's tons of pages on there that deal with public personalities that get flagged for editing, but this is the first I've ever seen flagged for deletion.
And I use Wikipedia A LOT.
Very interesting....

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The RNC

Man, I'm REALLY getting tired of these people calling me. Thank God for caller ID! The last time I talked to them, I told them I was NOT giving any more money to the Republican National Committee until they changed their policies.
When I see them getting back to more conservative values, I *might* give them another donation. In the meantime, I'll spread what little "wealth" I have to individual candidates that I feel are closer to my values than The Party Line. I like Chuck DeVore and wish there were more like him.
We NEED:
Less big government
Recognition of individual RIGHTS
Elimination of unnecessary, wasteful programs
Tax reductions
A strong national defense policy
Supreme Court candidates that support The Constitution
For that matter, we also need elected representatives that support AND FOLLOW our Constitution!
CLOSE THE DAMN BORDERS!
I'm sure there's more I could list, but I think you get my drift....

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Gun Safes

Gun safes are one of those things that I never really thought about much until recently. Since I'll be moving in with my girlfriend shortly, it's time to buy one, and wow, the choices are overwhelming! I was even surprised to see them at Home Depot in the "Tools" section, but I think I'd rather spend a little more and get one from more of a name-brand kind of place than my local lumber/wallboard/tool emporium.
The first question is How Big? I don't own a lot of firearms (yet!), so I don't need a safe big enough to arm a platoon, but I do need one big enough to handle any future purchases.
Then there's What "Level" Do We Buy? Some of these things look sturdy enough to require a small tactical nuke to break in to. The fire rating changes with the level, which is nice to know, but I'm more concerned with things like ease of installation (Reinforce the floor? WHAT!?), ease of opening, and physical security.
Which brings up What Type Of Lock? By this I mean do we want a dial-type lock, or a keypad-type lock? I kind of favor the keypad, but I want to look into if they have a connector for an external battery in case the on-board battery dies. It would be a real bummer to not be able to get into my own safe!
Next is Where Do We Put It? I'm looking at "closet safes", as we have a closet in one of the bedrooms that's not used for much, and it would be out of sight.
I already have a pistol safe that pops open with just a touch of the finger pads (yes, I practice with that just as much as I practice with my pistols!), and I'll keep that in the bedroom with my 45 inside it. I can't be running off to the other bedroom if something goes bump in the night, or the Goblins start prowling around outside. I just hope I never have to use my pistol to fight my way to my shotgun!
And finally, What About Shipping? These things are heavy, and I doubt if I could just slide one in the back of my Jeep to get it home. I'll probably rent a small trailer, and take the girlfriend's "#2 Son" with me. He's a weight-lifter, and helped the other night when we brought all the floor tile home for the kitchen remodel. I was struggling with a single box of tile (ever pick up a box of 12x12 floor tiles?), and was lugging in THREE of them! He's also been to the range with us a few times, knows The Four Rules, and is a damn fine shot with my Kimber.
I found several places that are fairly local, like "Homeland Security Safe Company", and "Patriot Safe Company". Some of the others offer free shipping, but that means somebody has to be home to accept delivery, and I'd really like this to be low-key, as I don't want a big truck pulling up, and all the neighbors seeing a brand-new GUN SAFE being delivered.
Ahhh...decisions, decisions. Next time I go to the range I'll ask the guys there. It's where I bought my little pistol safe, and they always know the answers to my sometimes arcane questions.
Comments are welcome, especially your experiences with gun safes.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

"I Am A Shooter"

Brigid has really out done herself this time, at least IMHO! She hits the nail on the head, and describes things that I feel, and know, but can't put into words.
Please go check out her latest posting, "I Am A Shooter". It's a worthy read.
The blogosphere is very lucky to have such an eloquent spokesperson.
Oh, and her recipes are great, too!

Tick, Tick, Tick......

Well, all 35 of us received our "Official 60-Day Notice of Impending Layoff" from the mothership on Friday. Then we went across the street to a little hole-in-the-wall bar for a "Pink Slip Party". The Company is really trying to relocate those who want to stay with The Company to other jobs, and several of my friends are going to do the TDY thing at various locations around the U.S. for the next few months. They had one location I was interested in, down in Ajo, Arizona working on the systems for the Virtual Border Fence that's being installed. It sounded pretty neat (and pretty cush, too!), but I really don't want to be out in the middle of nowhere for 3~4 months. *Maybe* if I could carry my sidearm (lots of "vermin" out there, I hear), AND convince the girlfriend it was a Good Thing, I'd go, but I think I'll use this 60-day period to finish moving in with her, get settled, and do some upgrades on the house. I'm a bit burned-out from all the travelling I've done in the last 5 years (I was gone 19 weeks last year), and looking forward to some R&R. Besides, my previous employer has told me "Just let us know if/when you'd like to come back", so as long as they don't mind waiting a while ( I don't lose my severance package, which you lose if you accept ANY employment before the 60 days is up), I'm perfectly happy to be "Semi-Retired"!

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Moment Of Silence, Please

For all those who lost their lives eight years ago today........


Thank you.
I can't hope to come close to all the other remembrances posted on the Web today, so I won't try, but here's my little story.
I was working the night shift at the uplink for the #1 satellite TV broadcaster. Night shift was a combination of tedium and boredom. We set the schedules up on the video servers and compression equipment for the coming day, made sure all the transmitters and amplifiers were working correctly, made our "meter readings", and did our part for upgrades at the station, like pulling in new cable, moving equipment racks, cleaning tape decks, and stuff like that. Usually pretty quiet. The intercom burst to life from the Main Control Room, and we expected that it was for something that had failed, and needed to be put back on-line ASAP. The BOSS (Broadcast Operations Shift Supervisor) was yelling "TURN ON THE NEWS!!!", so we flipped the monitor wall to CNN, BBC, FOX, etc.
It was horrible.
Working at a Broadcast Center is neat because we have access to all the "Raw Feeds", and the stuff the on-the-scene satellite trucks are uplinking back to their respective networks. It's where you'll see the reporters in the field doing their "Air Checks" before they go live. Sometimes it's hilarious because of the comments they make that you don't see at home when your'e watching TV. Reporters with perfect hair, nice suits and ties, and then you'll see them wearing old ratty jeans and shoes when the camera pulls back.
Not today.
I ran out to the main control room, set up some receivers, and started swinging some of our "Wild Feed" dishes around to the satellites I knew would be carrying the live traffic from the field. Within a few minutes we were getting live on-the-scene traffic, and the BOSS patched it to all the 'local' TV sets on-site.
Utter pandemonium. Nobody knew what was going on, the reporters were in a daze trying to get info, and doing their best to fill in with what little was known.

Then the second plane hit.
Thirty-four minutes later the Pentagon was attacked.
Twenty-two minutes after that the South Tower collapsed.
Twenty-nine minutes after that the North Tower collapsed.

So far I've lived through three of those historic "Where Were You?" moments in time.
President Kennedy is assassinated
We landed on the Moon
9/11

I'm not very religious, but I hope and pray we never have to go through an event like this again.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Happy Labor Day Weekend!



A little belated, but best wishes for all!
Spent last night "playing radio" out in the girlfriend's back yard. I was running my Elecraft K2, and my BuddiPole converted to a BuddiStick configuration for the first time. Talked to several guys back east (Missouri, Louisiana, Indiana), a couple more out West (Colorado and Wyoming), and had a nice chat with a guy in Honolulu.
Not bad for 10 Watts to a "portable" antenna! My signal was up-and-down, so one of these days I'll finish up the 100 Watt amplifier for my K2. The rig shown has the amplifier installed as part of the black, finned heatsink that comprises the top of the radio. Mine has a gray cover with the speaker in it, and that gets replaced by the amplifier assembly. Running "10dB down" from 100 Watts makes for some challenging contacts on Single Sideband, but I had no problems hearing stations. The K2 has an outstanding receiver, but 10 Watts is marginal for casual use down at the bottom of the solar cycle like we are right now. If we had been doing Emergency Communications, then the other guys would have been "listening harder" for us, and not just cherry-picking the stronger signals to talk to.

Friday, September 4, 2009

C-17 For America

The mothership sent this out today and requested we spread it around.

C-17 For America

When I think of the glorious history of Aerospace in Southern California, and that this is the last remaining aircraft program in the state, it saddens me.
So much Really Neat Stuff(tm) was invented and perfected out here that it boggles the mind. I was fortunate to get to work on some of it, both for the late, great Hughes Aircraft Company, and then Boeing.
Things I dreamed of as a kid......

(Hay) Fever Dreams

My allergies are acting up again, so last night I took a couple of Benadryl before hitting the hay. Most times it just clears up my sinuses, and helps me sleep, but last night.....Oh, Boy!
I kept having very strange dreams, where I was suckered into entering the "Amusement Park From Hell". The lines for the rides were very long, moved glacially slow, and all the people surrounding me smelled like they hadn't had a bath in months.
They all had this "1000 Yard Zombie Stare", and didn't speak coherently. There was loud carnival music blaring everywhere and the heat was oppressive. Barkers constantly screamed at you to enter the side-shows. The food was inedible and expensive. There were no water fountains anywhere, and you were forced to buy flat soda or stale bottled water, and both were almost too warm to drink.
The person letting you on the rides looked like Freddy Kruger, and talked like Hannibal Lecter, and when you got to the rides, they were either broke or didn't work right.
Roller coasters that went 5 mph, and ferris wheels that made one turn and stopped. Getting off the rides was just as bad as getting on. Freddy/Hannibal was in your face asking you how much you enjoyed the ride, and forcing you to fill out a survey as you got off. The survey only went from "Good" to "Excellent", with no place to write what you really thought of the rides. The paper it was printed on was cheap, and tore easily. The pens didn't write more than one or two characters before you had to shake the ink back down to the end.
It seemed like I wandered aimlessly in the park for days, and finally, towards sunset one day, I saw the exit. I made a break for it, and as I escaped the park into the cool night air, I turned around and looked back.
The sign said "Thank You For Visitng OBAMALAND!"
I woke up in a cold sweat.......

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

1911's RULE!!!!

Got my newest issue of "American Rifleman" a few days ago, and they have their "Top Ten Handguns of All Time" listed.
Of course, the Colt 1911 was number 1!
Read more here:
http://www.americanrifleman.org/ArticlePage.aspx?cid=24&id=1777