Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Yet Still Even More Cigar Art, Already

This is actually episode 21 of the ongoing series and we'll eventually get back to numbering these posts once we run out o' suitable modifiers.  In today's mail:






That's a box o' Oliva Serie O Habana Maduros in the torpedo size, if you're keeping score at home.  The box may look plain at first glance (it isn't) but it was the opening of this well-crafted beauty that amazed and mystified us.  Put another way, opening up this box o' beauties was the equivalent of an old reprobate's Christmas.  It's the little details... the stiff tissue liner, the shiny gold ribbon, and the interior cedar top piece... that all add up up to impressive packaging, yet again.  Art, in other words.

I think it's time to adjourn to the verandah with one of these puppies and a State Pen porter.  Dark begets dark.

Pretty Cool

This:



That lil girl is gonna get a LOT o' candy this Halloween.  A LOT.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Passing

This lil blurb from the Usual USAF Source caused a twinge of something like regret and/or sadness in me this morning:
One-Ring Circus
Workers at Misawa AB, Japan, began a year-long project to demolish the base's "Elephant Cage" antenna that the Air Force used for gathering radio signals intelligence for nearly 50 years, announced base officials. "During its long life, the antenna played a major part in the Cold War and beyond," said Col. Andrew Hansen, vice commander of Misawa's 35th Fighter Wing. "However, the technology has outlived its usefulness," he said in the Oct. 17 release. The three-ringed, 137-foot-tall AN/FLR-9 antenna was part of a global network that intercepted and pinpointed the location of Soviet and Communist-bloc radio communications. The array, completed in 1965, could detect and locate signals from up to 4,000 nautical miles distance, according to the release. Misawa's 373rd Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Group controlled the antenna until demolition work began on Oct. 15. A similar antenna at JB Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, is the only remaining AN/FLR-9 worldwide, said officials.

The FLR-9 was the "sister system," if you will, to the FLR-12 I worked on back in the day (see here, that's the FLR-12 antenna farm and ops building at Wakkanai, Japan).  But back to the FLR-9... From The Wiki: 
FLR-9s were constructed at the following places:
USASA Field Station Augsburg (Gablingen Kaserne), Germany
Chicksands, England
Clark AB, Philippines
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, USA (formerly designated as Elmendorf AFB)
Karamursel, Turkey
7th Radio Research Field Station/Ramasun Station, Udon Thani Province, Thailand
Misawa AB, Japan
San Vito dei Normanni Air Station, Italy

Advances in technology have made the FLR-9 almost obsolete.
"Almost obsolete" is prolly being too kind.  That said, I've roamed around the vicinity of the elephant cages at Chicksands, Karamursel, and Ramasun Station and it grieves me to know the old world is fading fast, if not gone.  But Hey!  All things must pass.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Panic In Portales!

Well, no... not really.  Just concern.  I'm just in from a visit to my doctor and was asked the following questions during check-in:
Have you traveled to West Africa lately?

Have you had contact with anyone who might have Ebola?
Negative on both counts, Ma'am... and did our gub'mint mandate you ask these questions?  "No," sez she, "but our management did."  "Well, now," sez I.  "How interesting."

So we did our bid'niz with the lovely Dr. Erika Garcia and got a referral to an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist over in  The Big(ger) CityTM.  We have some sort of stubborn issue with one of our nostrils which involves a growth that resists antibiotic ointment and weeps a very small amount o' blood when I apply the meds.  Cue the "It's always sumthin'" chorus.

Oh yeah.  We also got a flu shot AND a pneumonia shot.  The flu shot was painless but that pneumonia shot HURT.  I have no ideer what's in the P-vaccine but it stung the bejeezus outta me.

Beer me!

Kinda Unusual

The view from the study window this morning...


And, for comparison's sake, last July...


Fog in an arid climate.  Who'd a thunk it?  I think I MIGHT have seen three foggy days in the 12 years I've lived on The High Plains o' New Mexico.

This caught my eye while goin' through the overnight mail:


That describes me to a tee.  What AM I doin' right?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

The Grateful Dead...


There are things you can replace
and others you cannot
The time has come to weigh those things
this space is getting hot -
you know this space is getting hot
I told Althea
I'm a roving sign -
that I was born to be a bachelor -
Althea told me: Ok that's fine -
So now I'm out trying to catch her

Can't talk to me without talking to you
We're guilty of the same old thing
Talking a lot about less and less
And forgetting the love we bring 
Getting hot?  It got hot and burned out, long ago.  But here we are, talking about less and less and forgetting the love we bring.  What a great tune this is.

Story Book Endings

We almost had two such endings yesterday... one worked out and one didn't.  Here's the one that worked:



The game was a 0-0 tie until nearly the last possible moment in OT when The Captain brought home the win.  It doesn't get a whole lot better than that, Gentle Reader.  I was semi-upset when it came time to tune into the game last evening and found The Powers That Be mandated US coverage of the game would be provided by Hockey Night In Canada.  This wouldn't upset me normally but last night?  Yes, and that's mainly coz the HNIC guys are such homers.  It gave me GREAT pleasure when the Wings won the game, if only because it shut the HNIC guys right the Hell up.  Well, that and back-to-back wins over the Hated Leafs.  The fact the Wings took a home and home over Toronto... in very convincing fashion... is sweet, indeed.


I was conflicted last evening, given the Wings and ND were playing at nearly the same time.  I got to watch all of the hockey game's first period without interruption but the remote sure got a work out after that.  Remote workouts ended with Number 40's OT goal; I watched the second half of the ND game in its entirety and that game certainly lived up to its billing, to the point where I think it was prolly the best football game I've seen this year... except for the ending.  I jumped up off the couch shouting "Yes! YES!!" when Golson completed a pass into FSU's end zone with 14 seconds left for an apparent game-winning TD.  But, no.  The play was negated by a VERY dubious pass interference call and FSU squeaked out a win.  From the linked article:
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly was not happy with the call.

"We execute that play every day," Kelly said "And we do it legally and that's the way we coach it. We don't coach illegal plays."
I can vouch for the fact Mr. Kelly wasn't the only one who wasn't happy with that call.  A couple o' thoughts come to mind here... (1) "Sometimes it bees that way" and (2) "It's always sumthin'!"  It was a great game, even if the Irish were robbed.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday: Good Visuals But...

... very, very stupid.



From the Usual Source of these things:
Base jumper John van Horne leaps from the 1,381ft KL Tower in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in to a roof-top pool of another 34-storey building in the distance.
Just climbing the tower is dumb, jumping off the thing is even dumber. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

I Really Should Do This More Often*

From the Usual USAF Source...
Joint Power
Air Frame: Ships from the George Washington and Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Groups and aircraft from the Air Force and Marine Corps operate in formation at the conclusion of Valiant Shield 2014, Sept. 23, 2014. Valiant Shield is a US-only exercise integrating Navy, Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps assets, offering real-world joint operational experience. (Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Trevor Welsh)
A rather dull day for a photo-op, right?  But the pic IS impressive, click to embiggen.

* You might ask "Do what more often, Buck?"  "Publish more pics and stories about our allies the other services" would be my answer.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Not Your Father's Air Force XXXVII

And now airmen can get a medal for sitting in a hole...
Criteria for New Medal Announced
The Air Force last week announced the criteria for the new Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal, which Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James approved in late May in an effort to acknowledge and help retain high-caliber airmen in the nuclear mission. Airmen who were assigned, deployed, or mobilized on a nuclear mission to a wing, center, or below for 120 consecutive days or 179 nonconsecutive days are eligible to receive the award, retroactive to Dec. 27, 1991, according to a release. "This service medal provides a clearly visible way to recognize the dedication and professionalism of our airmen who are the guardians of our nation's nuclear deterrence. Because of our success, often times nuclear deterrence operations can be overlooked as a critical function," said Col. Zannis Pappas, the missile operations career field manager. "The medal acknowledges the special challenges faced by those airmen charged with supporting the nuclear enterprise and will be a point of pride by all who wear it." The medal is expected to be available in March 2015. Nominations for current airmen are to be processed through the normal chain of command. Retired or separated airmen and families of deceased airmen can submit requests to the Air Force Personnel Center, states the release.
Airmen performing nuke missile duties will get more money, too.  Fame and fortune, USAF-style.  

Apropos o' not much, one wonders if USAF will award the medal to the guys who loaded nuclear-tipped cruise missiles on a BUFF that flew from Minot to Barksdale without the aircrew knowing they had live weapons aboard.

And then there's this in other, better, USAF news:
Three Million and Counting
—Marc V. Schanz
The MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper family of systems and its variants have amassed three million flight hours, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems announced Oct. 14. Of the nearly 222,000 total missions completed in MQ-1 Predator/MQ-9 Reaper and Gray Eagle aircraft as of Oct. 2, almost 90 percent were flown in combat. The milestone represents the widespread usage and growth of remotely piloted aircraft systems for applications from intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance gathering to strike operations. Flight hours have grown at an explosive clip for the systems, with just 500,000 hours flown as of 2008, a million two years later, and two million in 2012. The Air Force's own MQ-1 and MQ-9s hit two million flight hours last October. According to the company, it has produced a total of 700 airframes of the various types to date, and is currently testing upgrades and modifications to add range and capacity to the Reaper.
I've said this before and I'll say it again: I get a serious case o' the willies whenever I'm out at Cannon and see a Predator shooting touch 'n' goes in the pattern.   I suppose that's yet another example o' Ol' Fart Syndrome rearing its ugly head.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Another One o' Those Time-Lapse Video Thingies

Time-lapse vids seem to make everything much better than real life, including big cities.  Case in point:



The usual, customary, and reasonable drill applies:  View full-screen HD.  The colors are simply VIBRANT.

h/t:  Digg, where they say:
MOST COLORFUL BOSTON HAS EVER BEEN

This Cool Layer-Lapse Makes Boston Look Freakishly Beautiful

And not a single drunk college kid in sight!
Thank The Deity At Hand for that last, eh?