Monthly Archives: March 2023

Getting More Complicated By Making It Simple

My old Samsung 40′ LCD TV, at 8-10 years old, finally gave up. And unlike the old days where you’d take it to a TV repair shop, or the really, really old days where a repairman would come to your house (I can still remember them swapping tubes in the living room), when these things give up, you might as well toss them.

Only its hard to find someone who wants an old non-functional 40′ LCD TV.


Since the price has plummeted on these (my old TV was close to $1000, and the new 40′ TVs are $200-$300, I elected for a 55″ Smart TV. Although looking at some of those TVs at BestBuy, some looked big enough that they were ready to eat your house. And this boxed “small” TV wouldn’t even fit in my car.

A delivery service delivered it this morning.

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Robert “Hoot” Gibson

In the Facebook Group, Parrothead Jeff recommended this video, and what a fascinating 1:25 it has been. He talks about his various flying jobs, from an F-4 and F-14 to the Space Shuttle (and did you know one of his flights had a near-catastrophe?) – and his time at the Reno Air Races. Even talks about his time as a 737 captain for Southwest Airlines.

I was apparently wrong on a few things on my mentioning Reno (nothing like hearing from someone who still at an average of 503 mph in a Mustang – holds the record from 2015), tells you what it was like).

Wonderful slides accompany his talk – a humble guy it seems for such an accomplished aviator – having flown 159 different planes.

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Bay Area Day Trips and the Computer History Museum

I recently made a visit was to the Computer History Museum in the heart of Silicon Valley, and learned some surprising facts about computers, going back to ancient Greece. What surprised me is that electronic computers didn’t suddenly appear in the 1940s with ENIAC, but had their germination in 1890 with the first widespread use of punch cards. And that was also the really beginning of IBM.

Learn about the origins of MP3 music files, and the song from ground zero – and many other things! Know how the term “counter” became applied to the kitchen?

Lots of pictures and more, and we are running out of room here. It’s over at Chicago Boyz.

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The Shame of Stanford University

One of the main reasons I came to admire Carroll “Lex” LeFon was his intellectual curiosity. He had a quality that, let’s be honest, one has to try and nurture. It’s too easy to “pick your side” and then find fault with anyone holding a different view.

Particularly in these politically-charged days.

I believe it has to come down to a respect for others. Not putting oneself first above everything.

I learned most of what I know about naval aviation thanks to Lex. He wrote some of the funniest stories I’ve read, and some of the most instructive.

But his real core was more than funny and instructive stories.

Many of his “posts” were of such a nature that to call them “blog posts” does him a disservice. They are more on the essay side of the scale.

If I had to pick one essay of his that exemplified him, this is the one. He picks one of the ugliest things one person could do to another, and asks the reader of that revulsion that most of us would have – does it come from a conscience given by God, or is it more secular in origin?

“Religious/philosophical discussion follows. Those who don’t like that sort of thing, or aren’t capable of joining it in a civil fashion are encouraged to seek their entertainment elsewhere.”

He was genuinely curious about the beliefs of all.

One of his “best friends he never met” was a journalist from the UK, of which “they agreed on virtually nothing“. But they respected each other and were curious about the other’s beliefs.

Although I never met him, nor even had an Internet conversation with him, I have come to believe that if he had been surrounded with readers who simply agreed with him, he would have become bored quickly and Neptunus Lex would probably have slipped back into anonymity in Sandy Eggo way before 9 years.

But that’s just my opinion.

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Filed under Life, Neptunus Lex, Politics, Uncategorized

Reno Air Race Memories

With the announcement that this September will mark the end of the nearly 60 years of the Reno Air Races, I thought I would mention my experiences there over the years.

I’ve written about some of those experiences here, here, and here.

I started going there in the late 70s, a 2.5 hour jaunt up I-80 from Sacramento. Then (if you were lucky) no wait heading north from Reno a few miles along US 395 to Stead Field. For many years I used to make it an annual pilgrimage. I’m a bit embarrassed to say in later years I got a bit jaded wondering if “this year” I would see something new and exciting. Of course, then I realized that what I was seeing, after the great air race venues of the 30s, was probably the last of its kind.

It was all the more remarkable by the huge increase in the value of these old warplanes. I believe that the top prize for the Gold Division – the Unlimiteds – was something like $100,000? Which was huge in 1964, its first year, when one could buy a Mustang for $10,000 and go racin’. Now with fewer than 100 airworthy Mustangs, with the value of the remainder worth in the millions, even winning wouldn’t cover the expenses I would think.

Those who did race did it because of the love of the race and they were very wealthy.

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Filed under Plane Pr0n, Remember, Uncategorized