Monday, January 26, 2009

Winter Weather.

Its snowing real good here and still coming down. There are many, many schools closed and looks like I will be babysitting my nephew tomorrow. I have to wonder why I always end up being a babysitter. I love the little guy and all, but its MY house and I do that free of charge. Whats in it for me?

Anyway, its just terrible out there and I don't know whats going to happen. ON the bright side, I don't have to go to work tonight, which is normally a working day for me. One of my fellow officers has his licence renewal class later in the week so in order for him to be able to attend it and get proper rest, our days off have been switched. I know that tonight would be terrible at work. We get the mall Ops manger coming in and its feels like he hovers over your shoulder. Actually he's pretty nice, but he has a reputation as someone who likes to dish it out if you know what I mean. Anyway, its liable to get pretty busy at work and with the roads being crap, I am so glad I don't have to go out in it again.

Now I did go out earlier to stock up at the store, because its what you always do, you know? Anyway, I like to drive careful on this stuff. I used to be fairly reckless but in my old age and years of driving without insurance have taught me that you don't want to be in an accident. Everyone else seems to be nuts when it comes to this crap. Like all the people passing me when I was doing 40 on a snow covered road. Like the imbecile at the Grocery store doing donuts in the parking lot. This guy in the parking lot had this huge Ford Expedition and he was going all over the parking lot trying to slide every which way but loose. I feared for my car. Maybe he thought that since there were no cars on the lot it was OK to be irresponsible. I have found in my years on this Earth that when you are having fun in this manner is right when the worst can happen. The guy eventually stopped and I felt safe enough to actually go into the store, but that's the kind of thing that happens in weather like this. All the outpatients at the mental hospital seem to want to act on their neuroses.

Well, that's my rant on the idiots that seem to want to make your life miserable in the winter weather.

Monday, January 19, 2009

On the Miracle on the Hudson.

I have been going ga ga over that place accident in New York the other day. I have to say that it just seems like God was watching over those people. Unfortunately, He could not stay the birds from hitting the Aircraft. Otherwise, from the start everything was in place that turned a potential disaster into a triumph over adversity. They were in a major metropolitan area which allowed them to be close to rescue services. It could have been a disaster if the plane had crashed into the buildings. The pilot was literally the perfect person for the job that was to befall him. He was the chief safety officer for the Airline Pilots Association. He wrote manuals on how crews work under pressure and how to interact in disaster. He had hand picked his crew and they all knew their jobs and had worked as a team. That team saved all those lives in New York that day. All were professionals and did the jobs they were trained for. The flight attendants functioned as the safety officers they are. The pilots flew the plane for one of the most successful ditching of a commercial airliner. A similar attempt by an Ethiopian Airlines aircraft ended in disaster. The ferrys, tug and tourist boats responded immediately and mitigated any loss of life there. New York was ready and all the emergency services responded with their expertise and when all was all was said and done there was no disaster. All walked away with their lives intact, able to be with their loved ones. God graced them with life and I hope they don't squander that.

I just spent the morning looking at all the YouTube fare about it. The BBC did a simulation:
Someone else did a simulation on their Microsoft Flight Simulator and showed how it would look like from the cockpit. Pretty scary. I would be praying. The news media here had the Parks Air University which is part of St. Louis University do a simulation on their unit and it was pretty impressive too. So we have a pretty good idea what happened and now people realize that birds can do bad things to an airplane. I remember listening to the scanner at work when I was in Louisville one night and they had a UPS plane get hit by a bird coming into land. Fortunately, he lost only one engine and was able to land safely.

Its common enough that planes are designed to resist a strike, but the problem with what happened in NYC was that the birds were a) large, and b) a flock that got into both engines. Canada Geese are very large birds and the design parameters only have a bird the size of a large chicken, not a Butterball Turkey sized bird. There's an old joke that when Americans started testing their bird strike mechanisms, where they fire a chicken carcass out of an air cannon at whatever part of the plane they are testing, they were getting damage all the time. Their British colleges, whom they had gotten the machine from, patiently told them they had to THAW the bird out before use. After doing that, of course they got accurate measurements... :-)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tell me that Israel isn't the 51st state

I read this in my morning mail and was slightly outraged. What I feel about Gaza is that in short both sides in this conflict are squabbling children and the propaganda on both sides has left few, if any options for us in this case. The only victims in Gaza are the children and innocents on both sides who must suffer. Hamas uses playgrounds and Hospitals as bases of operation and launching sites for rockets in order to provide carnage to show the world. Israel pounds the tiny area with 500 lb bombs destroying entire neighborhoods and providing ample propaganda for Hamas to use in its campaign. Every bomb Israel uses throws another log on the fire and creates even more resentment not only by the citizens of Gaza, but the world community that is fed Hamas propaganda.

The statement detailed below by the Prime Minister of another nation smacks of interference by a foreign power with our government. Apparently the Prime Minister of Israel is the one giving orders to the US when it comes to our foreign policy in the middle east. So much for President Bush being "The Decider."

This is difficult for me. I grew up being a staunch supporter of Israel. I saw incidents of innocent Israelis being killed in hijackings and wars and incursions by their neighbors. I read of the Holocaust and the millions of Jews killed in the Nazi death camps. Israel was a nation born of that promise "Never Again." Then we leap to today where we see the victims employing the tactics once used against them. Confining Arabs to ghettos, pounding them with rockets, bombs and artillery and I have to wonder who the victim is now? Each side has valid arguments about the existence of the other. The only thing that causing more death and destruction will do is bring about even more death and destruction and solve nothing. The Israeli intelligence sources I have heard have even stated that there is no real military solution for the Gaza situation. It is even starting to undermine the Fatawa movement on the West Bank and put the leader we support there in an increasingly tenuous situation.

In taking its action, Israel is cutting its own throat.

Israeli Prime Minister Brags About Giving Orders to Bush

Posted by Steve Benen, Washington Monthly at 8:03 AM on January 13, 2009.

The U.S. Secretary of State helped write and "fully supports" a resolution, and then suddenly decides she doesn't want to vote for it?

Safe to say, this picture wasn't taken too recently ...

Last week, there was a key vote on a United Nations resolution on a Gaza ceasefire. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice worked on crafting the specific language of the measure, and rallied other countries to back the resolution. It was obvious, given her efforts, that Rice supported both the measure and its goals.

And yet, when it came time for a vote, the United States abstained. What happened? Apparently, Ehud Olmert made a phone call.

In an unusually public rebuke, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel said Monday that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had been forced to abstain from a United Nations resolution on Gaza that she helped draft, after Mr. Olmert placed a phone call to President Bush.

"I said, 'Get me President Bush on the phone,' " Mr. Olmert said in a speech in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, according to The Associated Press. "They said he was in the middle of giving a speech in Philadelphia. I said I didn't care: 'I need to talk to him now,' " Mr. Olmert continued. "He got off the podium and spoke to me."

Israel opposed the resolution, which called for a halt to the fighting in Gaza, because the government said it did not provide for Israel's security. It passed 14 to 0, with the United States abstaining.

Mr. Olmert claimed that once he made his case to Mr. Bush, the president called Ms. Rice and told her to abstain. "She was left pretty embarrassed," Mr. Olmert said, according to The A.P.

In response, a State Department official said Rice wanted to abstain, and it was all part of the plan.

But that's very hard to believe. The U.S. Secretary of State helped write and "fully supports" a resolution, and then suddenly decides she doesn't want to vote for it?

At a State Department briefing yesterday, spokesperson Sean McCormack was asked "what message does it send" when Rice fails to vote for a resolution she supports and helped write. McCormack responded, "Well, you're -- you're certainly welcome to your interpretation."

As non-answers go, that one actually tells us quite a bit.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A car smarter tham me? I hope not!

This is a car that is neat and I got to wonder if it will be smarter than the people driving it. That's a scary thought. Someone put in the comments, "Open the pod bay doors, Hal," the famous line from 2001. You got to have some control and it looks like this car is the best of both. I find myself frustrated with the Escape at work since there are no keyholes for the car key on any of the other doors of the vehicle. The idiots on the other shifts have all lost the fobs and no one wants to get any more, so I have to get stuck running around to the other side because the car automatically locks the doors when I go over 20 MPH. I usually have a load of signs or calcium chloride in my hands when I forget this, so I hope the car is not smarter than me in this regard.

I can see the future. The car, in a petulant mood, fed up with its mistreatment, locks all the doors like a five year old child and refuses to open them till I promise to get him an oil change!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Ice Storm 2009 01 06

Today, we had an ice storm. It was just a thin sheen of ice, hardly nothing, but it was bad enough. Since it was so cold, it was like a skating rink everywhere. The salt trucks were even having trouble driving including one that slid off the road and overturned. I hope the driver was OK. I hadn't heard anything about what happened to him.

At work it was a disaster area. Thank God I got the rood closed off early since it was right after I closed it off, the storm hit. It was raining real hard for a bit then it would go to a drizzle. After all was said and done, there was a thin sheen of ice. It was patches of ice really. Some spots were dry and others were covered with ice. When I went to lunch, it was not bad. After I got back out, it was like a skating rink. I was driving around the north end of the mall and I started to slide. It wasn't like a normal slide. Even though I was going slow, I lost all contact with the road. I started going sideways and took my foot off the gas and just let it slow down. It got past there and I went really slow after that. I started to check the sidewalks and my boss called me on the radio and said to be really careful. As he said that, I stated to slip on the ice, and he was watching me on that camera. He said, "Like that! Now you know to be careful." It was kinda funny.

Anyway, after that, I had to start getting the sidewalks taken care of because the maintenance people weren't able to get in. So I was starting to salt the sidewalks. I got a couple of entrances salted. Then we had to address the service tunnel. Since we are in a relatively built up area, we have no loading docks. Instead, we have a tunnel underneath the mall, where our loading docks are. It is reached by a long, sloping ramp and it was covered with ice. I had to block that off because if a truck tried to use it, they would slide down into the garage door at the bottom. As I got my next bag of Calcium dumped into the spreader, the Mall Operations Manager called me on the radio and told me that he was in and he would take care of it. Since I had already dumped a 50 lb bag of calcium into the spreader it was a little hard to change my mind then. So I decided to start on one of the other sidewalks. I got that one pretty good. After that it was over with for me. The maintenance people were taking care of things.

So I drove around in my truck listening to my portable scanner. I have a walkie-talkie type scanner that I have programed with all the local police, fire and public service frequencies. I also have the TV station News helicopters and field reporters programed in. So I spent the rest of the morning for about an hour listening to all the people struggling to deal with the problems caused by the ice. There were 50 to 75 separate accidents including a couple of police cars! Yep, people hit some police cars.

After that, I got off work and I drove home in a roundabout way to avoid the traffic problems. I got me some gas on the way out since I was pretty low. And I got home OK. That was my day after I got home and went to sleep.

I have been sitting here watching TV. I woke up at 8 and watched a PBS program on the failed Franklin Arctic Expedition. They were one of the first ones who tried to search of the Northwest Passage. For many years their fate was unknown. There had been reports from Inuit natives (Eskimos) that they had managed to make it to one island and there their ships were crushed in this ice. All of the members of the expedition perished. Some resorted to cannibalism. The sad fact was that they had the most advanced technology of the day. Their ship was was equipped with an iron reinforced bow, and a steam engine to allow them to try to break through the ice. They were the first long range expedition to use canned food. This proved to be a detriment to them, because the cans were sealed by lead solder and that caused lead poisoning. Then they suffered from scurvy and all together added up to them suffering from paranoia and dementia. They couldn't survive. It was so sad.

Then I watched something about Katrina. There is an old man that was the only one to come back to his neighborhood. He built his house himself and since he wanted to do it himself he had a lot of difficulty getting assistance. Its so sad about the Katrina survivors. I couldn't imagine going through that.

Well, that's about all for my day. I am sitting here writing now.

About Me

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I am interested in CNG vehicles because they are good for the environment and aren't powered by dead Marines. I still have a little hope for the world. Read the musings and enjoy.