By lex, on January 3rd, 2011
Two out of three pax got sick on me yesterday, and I was beginning to fret. As was, one presumes, my weekend employer. Who stands to gain no word of mouth when that selfsame mouth has been wracked with expectorant contortions.
Firstus was a husband and wife team, herself a comely and voluble internal specialist veterinarian. Which I guess I thought they all were, not knowing that veterinarians had specialties, like. Hizzoner was very nearly a mute, confining his responses to monosyllables. I was left to wonder – not for the first time – about the strange vagaries in life that throw two people on the same boat.
He was a big feller too, and I’ve noticed a certain trend among the retired policemen, firefighters, building contractors and the like, once they’ve gained a certain avoirdupois: They often get sick.
I have no overarching theory as to why this should be true. I only make the observation.
By lex, on December 11th, 2010
In this space I was going to write a thought provoking piece on the role of naval aviation in our country’s national security strategy through 2050. Alternatively, I was going to take a hack at writing something lyrical and beautiful that would have placed you right there in the cockpit with me as something especially moving happened. Failing in those endeavors, I would have put up some plane pr0n for the amusement of the masses, or maybe some almost qualified commentary on the sad, degraded state of our national political discourse. All or any of these things would have been done before 1100, when I arrive at Montgomery Field for the first of my three dogfights today.
But, you know, it’s been daylight savings time for quite some time now, and the afternoon hours darken with irritating eagerness. And the workload has been crushing, like. So I haven’t gotten to do any recreational flying to speak of.
So instead of entertaining you with these my austere gifts, I think I’ll toodle down to Gillespie Field on the moto for to fly the Citabria to Ramona for some tailwheel landing practice before heading down to Montgomery to pick up the paying work and hopefully get her back to Gillespie before the sun goes down.
Life: Sometimes it gets in the way.
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By lex, on December 10th, 2010
The Economist reminds us of an upcoming celebration:
PETROL-HEADS of a certain age may have noticed that the 50th anniversary of the Jaguar E-Type sportscar is imminent. Within the motoring world, it will be the cause for much ballyhoo and dewy-eyed nostalgia. But before getting caught up in all the hoopla, your correspondent—wizened enough to have been around when the iconic car made its debut at the Geneva motor show in 1961—would like to contribute his two-pennyworth of personal experience on why the E-Type really was the most innovative piece of automotive machinery of its age.
By lex, on December 4th, 2010
Courtesy of VX, mine-detecting rats:
Reporting from Bogota, Colombia — Rats may soon become heroic figures in this nation’s struggle to detect and dispose of land mines.
Early next year, anti-narcotics police will begin deploying squads of rats to sniff out land mines in remote areas of Colombia where leftist rebels and drug traffickers have planted hundreds of thousands of the deadly devices. It’s an unconventional initiative in a country that is second only to Afghanistan in the number of land mine victims.
Using a project in Tanzania as a model, Colombian scientists have taught rats to detect mines buried as deep as 3 feet. The rats are conditioned to search and burrow down for explosives in exchange for the reward of sugar…
Rats have the advantage over bomb-sniffing dogs of being so light that they do not detonate explosives, as canines sometimes do. And researchers have found that the rodents are more adept than dogs at sensing explosives when the materials have been masked with coffee grounds, feces, fish, mercury and other substances.
“The more I work with rats, the more I am amazed at what they can do,” said Luisa Fernanda Mendez, a civilian behavioral veterinarian in charge of the rat-training project.
Cheaper than dogs, and no one sheds a tear when, well: You know.
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