Category Archives: Uncategorized

On patriotism

By lex, on June 19th, 2006

Something ASM826 wrote in comments the other day, and inspired by the latest bit of insipidity set loose upon an amazed and often embarrassed world set me to thinking:

I have been thinking about this interview since I read about it a few days ago. Patriotism is not a uniquely American trait. Others have held it. It makes the most sense when there is a clash between societies and someone believes that theirs is the superior.

For example: Winston Churchill was questioned by cabinet about negotiating a settlement with Nazi Germany, and his reply was, “ if this long island story of ours is to end at last, let it end when each one of us lies choking in his own blood upon the ground.”

Not much question where he stood, eh? No matter what problems his country had, compared with the alternative he thought Britain was better. Not much question where U.S. patriots stand, either. This country is better. The things we share and believe are better. Even our problems are better.

Flying the flag, loving my country, and feeling contempt for people who can, see the obvious value of the things that I love about the United States isn, pandering. It’s my personal response, welling up out of who I am.

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The Ritz, San Francisco

By lex, Tue – June 21, 2005

One does not, ordinarily, grow wealthy in the service of one’s country. I exclude, for this discussion, supply corps officers. No – the best that one can hope for is a sort of shabby gentility, much like that which adheres to a respected university professor, for example. And while one may never challenge the Astors at shuffleboard, neither will one go looking for the next meal. It’s a comfortable life, if not a routinely luxurious one. And too, they are not trivial, the rewards of service – just non-remunerative: There is the satisfaction of an important job, done as best as one can, often under difficult circumstances – these are the psychic rewards of service, and I wouldn’t trade them for all the tea in China.

Not everyone in my immediate family feels that way though…

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South Texas Travelogue

By lex, on Sat – April 23, 2005

I have a love/hate relationship with traveling. Airport security is a bother, and the planes are always beastly crowded these days, what with the majors trying to eke out every last passenger mile. Don’t like living out of suitcases, either. And of course, I end up missing my peeps.

But on the other hand, it does broaden your horizons. You see new things and new places. You see new people.

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IP to target

By lex, on April 11th, 2005

So – last week you got some fighter stuff.

This week: Attack

Fighter pilots get Silver Stars for shooting down MiGs. Attack pilots get Bronze Stars for winning the war.

Hornet pilots? We’re fighter/attack.

It doubles your odds.

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Resurrection Of An Archaic Term

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Just saw a wonderful movie today and the screenwriter(s) introduced a term not used in 60 years.

Computers. 

Yes, before they became made of tubes, then transistors then silicon, “computers” were a job title reserved for people, usually women, adept in math who did many mundane (but necessary) mathematical computations.

Just saw a movie that dealt with a very special computer, Katherine Johnson and 2 of her friends who were instrumental in getting manned spaceflight a reality for NASA. And they were African-American.

Johnson was a math protege at the age of 6 in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

Wonder how they computed the orbital reentry point at 17,000 mph to place the capsule within 20 square miles of ocean? How they were able to develop heat shields to withstand thousands of degrees in reentry?

Johnson was at the center of it.

It’s a wonderful story of perseverance of 3 women (overcoming the barriers of being female and black) and being a major influence in early NASA.

Hidden Figures. Worth seeing.

 

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A strange day yesterday

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I’m not really big on astrology, but sometimes things just seem a bit inexplicable. The entire day just seemed to be out of sync with the universe yesterday.

Just as an example I’m leaving the restaurant where a friend and I have our Friday lunch, and I’m behind a car with a rotating strip of steel emanating from the right rear wheel .

I can’t possibly even guess what this is so I move into the right lane to get a closer look at it.

It’s actually a fork stuck in the sidewall of the tire. How it got there I can’t even imagine to know.

So I’m honking the horn and trying in my most dignified manner to get this woman’s attention.

She is ignoring me and actually shielding part of her eyes and face with her right hand.

I can’t understand this either, and soon realize that the more I try to get her attention the sillier I’m going to appear.  So I just let her drive off rotating fork and all.

I am mentioning this to the Facebook group and with all of the experiences of all  varieties they had one woman says that something like that happened to a friend of hers who was exposed to a flasher.

Then it hit me. The woman must’ve thought I was trying to flash her.

It was a strange day indeed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Ride In A Ford Tri-Motor

Two days ago, I had an interesting flight. The EAA has been flying 2 of these around the country, stopping at various cities and offering rides to the public.

For $75, I got a ticket. I thought that was quite a bargain, considering the cost of flight these days.

We took off from Sacramento’s Executive Airport for an 18 minute flight around the city.

I think the Trimotor was historic for being one of the first true airliners (not a mail plane that could haul passengers). But between the Depression and the coming DC-2 I think it had a pretty short service life.

They built 199 of them.

BTW I thought it looked very similar to the German Junkers JU-52 . I learned that the main designer, William Stout (whose company Henry Ford bought) – copied German Professor Hugo Junkers ideas for all-metal aircraft. 

I asked one of the docents where you get parts for a 90 year old engine – and he said that they were P & W Wasps – (I think even the venerable Stearman had them) – parts were readily available.

So thanks to my trusty iPhone 6 SE you can ride with me – from start up to the 18 minute flight. 

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