Monday, July 26, 2010

T-99 Days....And Counting!

In 99 days, Americans will have a chance to vote out *some* of the IDIOTS that are currently in power, and screwing up our American way of life.

So here's our battle cry:


Let's all pray we can turn our Ship Of State around in time to prevent it from becoming another third world country!

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Sack Lunches

I don't know if this is true or not, but it's definitely a Feel Good story.
Several times (back when I had a job!) I donated to one of the organizations that sends goodie packages to our fighting men and women. Since I wasn't able to serve our country, and I remember my Dad telling me about how great it was to get stuff from home when he was in the South Pacific during WWII, it seemed the right thing to do.
I got several letters from the troops that received my packages, and I cherish them still.
Enjoy the following little story....

The Sack Lunches

I put my carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat down in my assigned seat. It was going to be a long flight. 'I'm glad I have a good book to read. Perhaps I will get a short nap, I thought.

Just before take-off, a line of soldiers came down the aisle and filled all the vacant seats, totally surrounding me. I decided to start a conversation.

'Where are you headed?' I asked the soldier seated nearest to me.
'Petawawa. We'll be there for two weeks for special training, and then we're being deployed to Afghanistan .'

After flying for about an hour, an announcement was made that sack lunches were available for five dollars. It would be several hours before we reached the east, and I quickly decided a lunch would help pass the time...

As I reached for my wallet, I overheard a soldier ask his buddy if he planned to buy lunch. 'No, that seems like a lot of money for just a sack lunch. Probably wouldn't be worth five bucks. I'll wait till we get to base.'

His friend agreed.

I looked around at the other soldiers. None were buying lunch I walked to the back of the plane and handed the flight attendant a fifty dollar bill. 'Take a lunch to all those soldiers.' She grabbed my arms and squeezed tightly. Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me. 'My son was a soldier in Iraq ; it's almost like you are doing it for him.'

Picking up ten sacks, she headed up the aisle to where the soldiers were seated. She stopped at my seat and asked, 'Which do you like best - beef or chicken?'
'Chicken,' I replied, wondering why she asked. She turned and went to the front of plane, returning a minute later with a dinner plate from first class.

'This is your thanks..'

After we finished eating, I went again to the back of the plane, heading for the rest room.. A man stopped me. 'I saw what you did.. I want to be part of it. Here, take this.' He handed me twenty-five dollars.

Soon after I returned to my seat, I saw the Flight Captain coming down the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as he walked, I hoped he was not looking for me, but noticed he was looking at the numbers only on my side of the plane. When he got to my row he stopped, smiled, held out his hand and said, 'I want to shake your hand.' Quickly unfastening my seatbelt I stood and took the Captain's hand. With a booming voice he said, 'I was a soldier and I was a military pilot. Once, someone bought me a lunch. It was an act of kindness I never forgot.' I was embarrassed when applause was heard from all of the passengers.

Later I walked to the front of the plane so I could stretch my legs. A man who was seated about six rows in front of me reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine. He left another twenty-five dollars in my palm.

When we landed I gathered my belongings and started to deplane. Waiting just inside the airplane door was a man who stopped me, put something in my shirt pocket, turned, and walked away without saying a word. Another twenty-five dollars!

Upon entering the terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their trip to the base. I walked over to them and handed them seventy-five dollars. 'It will take you some time to reach the base... It will be about time for a sandwich. God Bless You.'

Ten young men left that flight feeling the love and respect of their fellow travelers.

As I walked briskly to my car, I whispered a prayer for their safe return. These soldiers were giving their all for our country. I could only give them a couple of meals. It seemed so little...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Thermal Imaging On A "Budget"

$2500 is really out of my territory, but then so was Night Vision a not-so-many years ago.
Don't know how well this would work for "Civilian" use, but it's interesting.
Since it's made by Fluke, I'd suspect it's pretty well-made.
More info is here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What Kind Of Conservative Are You?

A neat find, courtesy of good old Jeffro over at The Poor Farm.

Quiz: What Kind of Conservative Are You?

My Conservative Identity:

You are an Anti-government Gunslinger, also known as a libertarian conservative or Tea Partier. You believe in smaller government, states’ rights, gun rights, and that, as Reagan once said, "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’"

Take the quiz at Political Humor

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Internation Space Station

Just had a wonderful 80 degree pass of the ISS. It came up out of the Northwest, and set in the Southeast. Brighter than Venus, which is the bright "star" by the Moon, and always fun to see go over.
If you're interested in how you can see it yourself, AMSAT has a very nice Web application where you can enter your Longitude and Latitude, and get real-time pass prediction. Keep in mind it's only visible when in the sun, you passes that occur around dusk are just beautiful to watch.
Real Time Pass Predictions by AMSAT.
Use the drop-down box ("Show predictions for") to select the ISS (it defaults to AO-51) and enjoy!
And if you're curious about the history of Amateur Radio Satellites, there's an excellent story to be read over at Space Today Online.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Weirdness in the Gulf

Haven't checked this out yet, but it wouldn't surprise me if it was true......

The Gulf Smells (This will give you something to think about for a while.)

1. 4 Weeks before the BP blowout Obama builds an alibi---“I am opening offshore drilling off of all the Coastal U.S.” Goldman Sachs dumps nearly all of its stock 40%+ in BP, a profitable winner. Days before they dump the rest.

2. BP ignores the advice of all the drilling contractors on making the well safe. British Petroleum had a manager directing drilling who had never been on an offshore rig before, that purposely ignored all safety warnings. BP ignores TransOceanic warnings about a problem with the blowout preventers. BP ignores repeated warnings on numerous problems from numerous sub-contractors.

3. The well explodes under suspicious circumstances, but BP does nothing immediately to control it. Why? The Dutch offer to have it controlled in 48 hours. They are ignored.

4. Obama sacks his National Intelligence Director (a Navy Admiral) who cannot comment on intelligence, or the reasons he was sacked because of Federal Laws.

5. BP top fills the well but it fails as predicted in advance by numerous oil professionals causing downhole damage to the well which has caused a massive pollution of the southern U.S. The way they bungled everything, the Gulf will be dead for decades!

6. Obama now declares ALL drilling is suspended in the Gulf and makes numerous PR trips to the Gulf to look like he is outraged.

7. John Podesta is Obama’s man that built his cabinet, and all his Czars

8. John Podesta is also head of George Soros ‘Center for American Progress’ (a socialist organization dedicated to killing capitalism in America and for building according to Soros “A New World Order”)

9. John Podesta’s brother is the lead lobbyist for British Petroleum, whose services are now in huge demand.

10. Soros was a huge contributor to Obama’s campaign

11. Soros invested $900 million in Petrobras, the Brazilian government controlled oil company that plans on drilling offshore in Brazil, yet cannot get the deepwater rigs operating in the Gulf

12.Days after Soros investment, Obama grants $2 billion to Petrobras of U.S. taxpayers dollars to drill offshore in Brazil….the company nets over $15 Billion annually

13.U.S. drilling companies must do something with their now idled rigs and are planning on moving them off to South America----to Petrobras which will supply the oil to the U.S. as an Import

14.Obama gives a patsy White House Oval Office speech on the disaster, but also during the speech he states the need for Carbon Taxes…Cap and Trade.

15. The carbon tax exchange will be based in…You guessed it…….Chicago….and called the CCX…..The CHICAGO Climate Exchange

Friday, July 9, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Clean-Up Time

Well, the YF (ham-speak for "wife") and I started a "little" project last Saturday morning that's still going on. We have an enclosed are at the back of our garage, about 4' wide, that runs the width of the garage. The roof of the garage was extended, a concrete pad was poured, some 4x4's anchored to the pad with 2x4's to tie them together, and sheets of corrugated fiberglas nailed to the studs and stringers. One end has a discarded door from somewhere, and the other is blocked off with some large wood planking. Voila! Instant storage area that's out of the rain and sun, and fairly secure because of the location. It hadn't been cleaned out, sorted, or organized in at least 7 years, and going in beyond the first couple of feet got pretty scary. It looked like something from a Wes Craven movie, and the further in you went, the worse it got. As we pulled things out, I'd go in with my shop vacuum and remove all the cobwebs, dead bugs, and other debris. When we finally had the movable stuff out, I went in and pulled out the shelving that was in there, and then we cleaned the concrete pad and walls. One of the shelf units is really sturdy wood, so we kept it, and the better of the three metal shelf units. Two of the three metal shelves were *really* cheap, and bent up as I was moving them! I picked up some Plano plastic snap-together shelves on sale at Lowe's, and then we reloaded the storage "shed", setting aside all the worn out and broken things that were in there. We wound up with so much nicely organized extra space back there, that I was able to move some of the larger items I had in the garage into it, along with a ton of smaller rarely-used items.
Then I attacked the garage!
The first thing I did was to hang two new shop lights, and move the existing light to over the work bench. I'm still running them off an assortment of extension cords (yes, I really do know better!), and now there's more than enough light to work out there after dark. I had dozens of large, medium, and small boxes full of stuff that are now sorted, stored, or tossed out. Weird stuff, like serial cables with one end cut off (wonder what I used it for?), dozens of old Ethernet cables ("Cat5 Network Cables" for the non-geeks), half-boxes of hardware (I had SIX boxes of 1/4-20; now I have ONE!), broken stuff that people had given me ("If you fix it, you can HAVE it!"...uhhh...then if I can't fix it, you want it back broken??), obsolete stuff good only for the salvage value of the metal, HUNDREDS of old software CD's that came with long-gone hardware, dead motherboards, bad CPU's and CPU's out of machines I upgraded for people, a HUGE box of old memory ranging from 1-Meg 30-pin SIMMS to high-end server memory, and on, and on, and on.
And that was just MY stuff!
Then we spent a couple of pleasant afternoons going through all the boxes, milk-crates, and old, rusty tool-boxes from her oldest son and deceased husband. I still don't know why they needed TWENTY-FIVE staple guns, multiple sets of El-Cheapo sockets and screwdrivers, and other assorted "Harbor Freight Quality" tools, but there they were.
We now have a huge pile of "stuff" stacked up in the driveway to get rid of, and a reasonably clean and organized garage. We're still not finished, but it's much better than it was.
The next big project will be to organize the dozen or so boxes of Star Trek, Star Wars, TMNT, and various Action Figures to list on eBay so we can get rid of them.
And we haven't even started on the TWO THOUSAND comic books her husband had acquired over the years......

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Field Day 2010 Pictures!

Finally had time for a breather here. Got busy this morning cleaning out the storage area behind our garage (a.k.a "The Shed"), and it wound up taking almost all day. And we stacked a whole pile of bent up metal shelving, an old wet/dry vac, some hedge trimmers and weed-eaters, and a bunch of PVC/ABS pipe in various sizes.
I bet it'll be gone by tomorrow afternoon!
Enjoy the photos. They were taken at the K6AA 2010 Field Day operation at Angel's Gate Park in San Pedro. We had a ball, and I made thirty-five ( ! ! ! ) satellite contacts this year!

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Iceberg

Go read this now.
It's a most excellent viewpoint of our current times, and with some REAL hope for a real change.
And Happy Birthday, America!

For Phil......

 My buddy Phil from Bustednuckles brought up a good point on my previous post. Since I have things on the engine torn down this far: It wou...