Saturday, June 30, 2012

Bill Whittle on "Fast and Furious"

As usual, he hits the nail right on the head.

His closing remarks are brilliant.


Friday, June 29, 2012

High School 1958 vs 2012

Found this over at Godfather Politics, one of my faves.

Just couldn't resist posting it here.

HIGH SCHOOL — 1958 vs. 2012

Scenario 1:
Jack goes duck hunting before school and then pulls into the
school parking lot with his shotgun in his truck’s gun rack.

1958 – Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack’s shotgun,
goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack.

2012 – School goes into lock down, FBI called,
Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again.
Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.

Scenario 2:
Johnny and Mark get into a fist fight after school.

1958 – Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark
shake hands and end up buddies.

2012 – Police called and SWAT team arrives –
they arrest both Johnny and Mark. They are both charged
with assault and both expelled even though Johnny started it.

Scenario 3:
Jeffrey will not be still in class, he disrupts other students.

1958 – Jeffrey sent to the Principal’s office and given a good
paddling by the Principal. He then returns to class, sits still and
does not disrupt class again.

2012 – Jeffrey is given huge doses of Ritalin. He becomes a zombie.
He is then tested for ADD. The family gets extra money (SSI) from the
government because Jeffrey has a disability.

Scenario 4:
Billy breaks a window in his neighbor’s car and his Dad gives him a
whipping with his belt.

1958 – Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college
and becomes a successful businessman.

2012- Billy’s dad is arrested for child abuse, Billy is removed to foster
care and joins a gang. The state psychologist is told by Billy’s sister
that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison.
Billy’s mom has an affair with the psychologist.

Scenario 5:
Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.

1958 – Mark shares his aspirin with the Principal out on the smoking dock.

2012- The police are called and Mark is expelled from school for drug violations.
His car is then searched for drugs and weapons.

Scenario 6:
Pedro fails high school English.

1958 – Pedro goes to summer school, passes English and goes to college.

2012 – Pedro’s cause is taken up by state. Newspaper articles appear nationally
explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU
files class action lawsuit against the state school system and Pedro’s English teacher.
English is then banned from core curriculum. Pedro is given his diploma anyway but
ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.

Scenario 7:
Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from the Fourth of July,
puts them in a model airplane paint bottle and blows up a red ant bed.

1958 – Ants die.

2012 – ATF, Homeland Security and the FBI are all called. Johnny is
charged with domestic terrorism. The FBI investigates his parents -
and all siblings are removed from their home and all computers are confiscated.
Johnny’s dad is placed on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

Scenario 8:
Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee.
He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort him.

1958 – In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.

2012 – Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job.
She faces 3 years in State Prison. Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy.”


Google Censoring Shopping Results For Firearms

It hope it comes back and bites them (HARD!) in the ass.

Read all about it here.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Taps for America

May She Rest In Peace

Todays SCOTUS Ruling

I haven't read it.

I may try to read it later.

I see people saying it's a victory for us conservatives and the American people, and I see people saying the ruling is a complete disaster, and this crappy piece of legislation should have been sent to Hell, where it belongs.

Maybe I'm not tactically savvy enough when it comes to things like this, but I had hoped (and prayed) that the entire thing would have been ruled patently UNconstitutional.

And I see people are praising Justice Roberts for his "Brilliant Thinking", and "Chessmaster-like Strategy".

I think Claire Wolfe was wrong.

It's time now, or will be very soon.....

At least there was some good news, in the vote declaring Holder in contempt.

Maybe we do have some time left, but it's getting shorter and shorter....


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

And I Thought I Was Having A Bad Day

Ever have one of those days when you just felt everything was turning to shit?

Well, I *was* having one until a few minutes ago.

They posted the new launch schedule at work today, and we'll be out at-sea over Thanksgiving AND Christmas.


AND TPTB have decided that EVERYBODY has to start at 0600.

Double shit....

And then I just went over to The Poor Farm to see what my friend Jeffro was up to.....

His whole place burned to the ground while he was out delivering some oil storage tanks in Michigan.....

Kinda makes my "problems" look pretty lame.

Please, drop on by his place, or say a prayer, or both.
He's a good, decent, honest, Salt-of-the-Earth guy, and I think he could use a little support about now.


Monday, June 25, 2012

An Afternoon At The Range

Since I haven't been to the indoor range in I-forget-how-long, and I took today off work to unpack the Jeep and recover from Field Day, my son and I went out this afternoon for a couple of hours.
It's nice getting there at 2pm, as we had the whole place to ourselves, and used the lane next to ours to stack our gear, reload our guns, prep the targets, etc.
He brought his step-dads Remington Viper 522, and his Sig P226. I brought my Kimber TLE-II 45ACP.
As usual, it took a a magazine full of 45ACP before I got "good" again, and the the whole first mag I was chanting "Front Sight, PRESS, Reset, Front Sight, PRESS, Reset" as I dusted the rust off my marksmanship. At ten yards. they were all in the black, but not nearly as tight as I know I'm capable of. Still, they were all within a "Dinner Plate Sized Circle" as propounded by the NRA for Basic Home Defense.
By the second mag I had them all within a space I could cover with my hand, so the skills came back pretty quick.
The Remington Viper 522 my son brought is an interesting little rifle. It was the replacement for the Nylon 66, which I owned a LONG time ago, and regret giving to my best buddy before I moved out here to Kaliforniastan. My buddy still has it, and shoots it regularly, and tells me it's none the worse, but I still miss it.
The 522 lived up to it's reputation for the plastic magazines it came with being pretty crummy, and we had numerous failure-to-feed malfunctions. Once we switched to the aftermarket steel magazines he brought with him, it settled right down, and we burned through all the "old" ammo he brought with him. We had a bunch of failure-to-fire malfunctions, and although the round showed a solid hammer strike, it just didn't fire. We started to use some Federal "Value Pack" ammo I brought with me, and spent the rest of the afternoon alternating between shooting at the 1" stick-on circles he brought, and using our handguns.
By the time we were finishing up for the day, people were starting to come in, including some local LEO's who use the range for qualifying.
All-in-all, we had a great time, and we're going to try and get up to Angeles Shooting Range in the next week or so for some rifle time.
And I'm definitely going to try and get to an Appleseed event after the August launch that I'm scheduled to go on.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Field Day

Well, so far it's been pretty quiet. Nobody fell off a tower or out of a tree, or blew up a radio or generator, at least not yet.
The Solar Index dropped off last week, and with it, HF propagation. We only have 1 'Big Gun" station this year, and he's running CW, where each contact nets two points. The other two stations we have set up, besides mine, are using fairly low dipoles and a vertical. They're doing kinda-sorta OK, but I doubt if we'll get even one-third the points we scored last year.
Things went pretty smoothly for me setting up the satellite station, and I was ready to go about 20 minutes before the event started. The first satellite pass didn't occur until 45 minutes later, so I ran around and helped everybody else chase Murphy away.
So far I've made 16 satellite contacts after untangling a couple of problems of my own, and the higher-elevation passes will occur later tonight.
Next pass is AO-7, and it happens in 10 minutes, so I'll end this.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Field Day Preps

Well, I brought the 4'x6' U-Haul home tonight, and even managed to back it into the driveway without running off the concrete, or taking anything out.
Tomorrow I'll tip over the tower, and pull the VHF antenna off the cross-boom, and then pull the cross-boom out with the UHF antenna still bolted to it. This allows me to do the minimum of dis-assembly, which means the minimum of RE-assembly at the Field Day site on Saturday morning.
I tested all my gear last weekend (and had a ball doing it!), and it's all packed and staged in the garage, ready to put in the trailer tomorrow. Saturday morning I'll hop in the Jeep, and head down to the site. My son will meet me there with the tent and the other camping gear, and we should have everything running by 11am when the event officially starts.
We usually set up on Friday, 24 hours before the event starts, but this year we're down to about one-third our normal strength, and nobody is staying overnight at the site.
I'm NOT leaving my generator, radio, and other support stuff unattended there!
Our three most experienced operators, and all their equipment, will be operating with one of the other clubs they belong to, in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the other club.
We've been running category "5A" or "6A" the last several years, but we might be "3A" this year, if another club member decides to come out.
The number in the category refers to the total number of transmitters we have on-the-air, and the letter indicates our power class. "A" is for off-the-grid, generator operation.
Six transmitters might sound like a lot, but you can have multiple transmitters on the same band, as long as they operate different modes. We usually had one SSB, and one CW station on the three most popular bands, but things can change around quickly if there's a "Band Opening" with a lot of activity. One of the CW stations might decide to go operate SSB, say if 10 Meters gets hot, and the CW band he was operating in wasn't producing many contacts.
Field Day is NOT supposed to be a contest, but that's the way most clubs approach it these days. I think the record was a club operating something like "157A" ( !! ), but in reading about their operation, they kind of bent the rules by about 90*!
Field Day is supposed a simulated emergency test, where we all go out away from our normal stations, and operate with portable equipment and power sources, as a test of our preparedness. It's also a good opportunity the show the General Public what Amateur Radio is all about, and to (try) and introduce them to the fact that there are other ways to communicate besides using a cellphone or the Internet.
And it's a good test to see if all your radio junk that's been buried in the garage for the last 12 months still works!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Thank You For Your Service

H/T to Jeffro

Satellite Station Up And Running

And it was remarkably painless!
I was a bit concerned about using my newer laptop with Windows 7 this year. The 4-port USB-to-Serial converter I'd been using for years did NOT have Win7 drivers, so it forced me to get a newer version. Then Windows remapped all the ports compared to what I had been using on my older laptop, so after a bit of digging, I had the correct cable on the correct port, and was able to set up the radio, the tracking interface which tells the rotor controller which way to move the antennas, and my HP GPS clock.
And it all worked!
I could easily hear myself on the FO-29 downlink, and had a chat with a guy in San Diego. Not exactly DX from here, but the satellite's footprint was mostly over the Pacific, so I was lucky to have somebody to talk to.
FO-29 is a Grand Old Lady, having been launched in August of 1996. She's had some battery trouble, but the guys at JAMSAT have kept her running all these years. They've been turning it off during extended eclipse periods so the batteries don't go completely flat, and they've done a superb job.
Now I just have to wait for some more passes that are over this area, and see who else I can yak with.

Field Day Is NEXT Weekend

And I'm dragging all the stuff out of the garage and shack to do a dry run.
The picture is yours truly from 2010. The smile on my face is due to the fact that I'm in the process of making 35 satellite contacts....the best my club had EVER done!
In 2011 I made 45 contacts, another "record" for the club. This year we've lost a couple of satellites, AO-51, and HO-68. AO-51 was an FM only bird, but HO-68 was a linear transponder (SSB and CW), and I made about HALF our contacts on it last year.
AO-51's batteries finally failed after 7 years in orbit, and HO-68 suffered a failure of a relay used to switch things around, and has been beacon-only since January 2011.
Back later with more.....

Friday, June 15, 2012

New Flavor at Baskin Robbins!

From one of my friends.....

In honor of the 44th President of the United States , Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream has introduced a new flavor: Barocky Road

Barocky Road is a blend of half vanilla, half chocolate, and surrounded by nuts and flakes. The vanilla portion of the mix is not openly advertised and usually denied as an ingredient. The nuts and flakes are plentiful.

The cost is $92.84 per out of a hundred dollar bill you are at least promised some CHANGE..!

When purchased it will be presented to you in a large beautiful cone, but after you pay for it, the ice cream is taken out of the cone and given to the person in line behind you at no charge.

You are left with an almost empty wallet, staring at an empty cone and wondering what just happened. Then you realize this is what "redistribution of wealth" is all about.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Help Find Out How Your Local PD Is Using Drones

The guys over at the Electronic Frontier Foundation have published a handy little guide of things to ask your local PD.

Here's their opening paragraph:

Since last month, when EFF released a list of the sixty-odd public agencies that have already received from the FAA approval to fly domestic drones, the issue of drone surveillance has reached front and center in many Americans’ mind.  Yet barely any information is known about what law enforcement agencies plan to do with these unmanned flying vehicles. So we want your help to gather this information into one place.

To find out more, head on over to the EFF website, and read the whole thing. 

If you don't want to read the entire thing, here's a link to the questions.

I've been an EFF member for some years now, and while I may not agree 100% with them, this is a worthwhile venture on their part.

Colorado Fires *UPDATE*

Well, the stepson's GF heard from her Mom today.
Their house is still standing.
She said it's a bit scorched, and the deck is gone along with all of the outbuildings, but the house itself appears intact.
Her parents haven't been allowed back in the immediate area yet, so they don't know if it's habitable or not, but at least it's still there.
She's headed back today to help with the mountains of paperwork that come with a loss like this.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Colorado Fires....

My stepson's girlfriend is from the Colorado Springs area, and her parents had to evacuate their farm last week.
WELL.....she got the news today that their place is a total loss.
Her Mom, Dad, brothers, sisters, and the dogs and livestock are OK as they moved all that over the weekend. but the rest of their stuff is gone.
Thankfully, her parents carried a lot of insurance, as her Dad also ran his construction business and Christmas tree farm from that location, but she told me today very little is left.
If any 'good' can come out of a personal tragedy like this, it should be a sobering reminder to document all your "stuff" that wouldn't ordinarily be covered by your homeowner's insurance.
Serial numbers, descriptions, and photographs, and keep them in a safe place away from your home.
And if you have unusual items that aren't specifically listed in a rider on your homeowner's insurance, make sure you get supplemental insurance to cover them.
I'm right now in the process of documenting all my radio gear and test equipment, "Just In Case".

Saturday, June 9, 2012

GROAN.....Finally Home

They (Da Management) posted our ETA at the Pilot Station three different times today, NONE of which were accurate.
Hit the Pilot Station at 1830, but they didn't get us tied up and drop the gangway until 2030. This is about an HOUR longer than 'normal'.
I swear, Longshoremen are the epitome of "I get paid by the hour".
Then, nobody told the marine crew we'd need a basket lift to get our luggage off the ship, so that was another 30 minutes.
And of course, my stuff was in the last load to be brought down.
Got home about 2200, and after I spend a few minutes winding down, I'm hittin' they hay!
See you all tomorrow.....

Friday, June 8, 2012

About 30 Hours Out....

We're at 29*40'N, 127*W @ 19knots.

ETA at Home Port is approx 1800 on Saturday.

Can barely wait to get off the ship, and back home......

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Union Creek Journal

Wonderful story, well written. I found it via a link posted by the good guys at the Western Rifle Shooters Association.
The site itself it a great one, but read the Journal in chronological order, then look at the rest.
Amazingly well done.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Quiet Night Off Hilo.....

Our Bell 212 took off about 45 minutes ago to take a sick passenger to Hilo. We're sitting about 12 miles off the coast on Dynamic Positioning waiting for them to return so we can get headed back to our Home Port in Long Beach.
There's some big whoop-de-dos going on in the bar tonight, but since I don't do bars anymore, it's a nice quiet time to sit at my desk and watch a movie.
Tonight's feature is "Ghost In The Shell 2.0" in Blu-Ray. I brought this one, and "Ghost In The Shell: Innocence" with me, which I watched Sunday afternoon. I think "Innocence" is a better movie as it goes into the characters more, but the first one is a classic, and I do loves my "classic" movies.
I also brought the entire collection of "Miami Vice" with me, but I'm a bit frazzled on those after getting through the first two seasons over the weekend!
Our re-revised ETA at Home Port is sometime Sunday, but we'll get a better ETA as we get closer to home.

Ten Interesting Facts.....

1) Only in America could politicians talk about the greed of the rich at a $35,000 a plate campaign fund raising event.

2) Only in America could people claim that the government still discriminates against black Americans when we have a black President, a black Attorney General, and roughly 18% of the federal workforce is black. 12% of the population is black.

3) Only in America could we have had the two people most responsible for our tax code, Timothy Geithner, the head of the Treasury Department and Charles Rangel who once ran the Ways and Means Committee, BOTH turn out to be tax cheats who are in favor of higher taxes.

4) Only in America can we have terrorists kill people in the name of Allah and have the media primarily react by fretting that Muslims might be harmed by the backlash.

5) Only in America would we make people who want to legally become American citizens wait for years in their home countries and pay tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege while we discuss letting anyone who sneaks into the country illegally just become American citizens.

6) Only in America could the people who believe in balancing the budget and sticking by the country's Constitution be thought of as "extremists."

7) Only in America could you need to present a driver's license to cash a check or buy alcohol, but not to vote.

8) Only in America could people demand the government investigate whether oil companies are gouging the public because the price of gas went up when the return on equity invested in a major U.S. oil company (Marathon Oil) is less than half of a company making tennis shoes (Nike).

9) Only in America could the government collect more tax dollars from the people than any nation in recorded history, still spend a trillion dollars more than it has per year for total spending of $7 million PER MINUTE, and complain that it doesn't have nearly enough money.

10) Only in America could the rich people who pay 86% of all income taxes be accused of not paying their "fair share" by people who don't pay any income taxes at all.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Short Wave Radio At Sea

Even though I haven't be able to get a Reciprocal Operating Permit from the country where our ship is flagged, I do bring my little Grundig G3 shortwave receiver with me. On days like today, I enjoy going out on deck and tuning around the bands to 'see' what I can 'hear'. This weekend is Museum Ships Weekend, and I was able to hear KH6BB, onboard the U.S.S. Missouri anchored in Pearl Harbor. I'm going to send them a reception report, with an SASE, of course, and hope they get a kick out of being heard from 4*17'N, 149*43'W.
We're chugging along at 19 knots, and hopefully will be back in Home Port  next Saturday the 9th.
I'll miss my YF's birthday, but I ordered her some of her favorite flowers from, the BEST place I've ever dealt with when it comes to sending floral arrangements.

The little Grundig is a better radio than I expected. It has Synchronous Detection for AM use, which helps eliminate fading, and although it has 1kHz tuning steps, the fine tuning control has a greater than 1kHz range, making it very easy to tune in SSB.
It also receives standard AM broadcast, FM stereo (with headphones), Aircraft Band, and has most of the standard Shortwave Bands available at the touch of a button.
Pleasant little radio for under $100, and would make a good addition to your bug out/emergency kit.

Meet Luna!

 Great name for our new pup, eh? She's camera shy, and "Red Eye Removal" doesn't work for dogs! She's two years old, p...