Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Late. Again.

We just finished answering last night's comments and started working on the overnight mail, shortly after we poured our first cup.  Yes, it's yet another late start.  Still and even, it was a great good day to sleep in.  I had NO ideer what our WX was like until I opened the blinds this morning.  Imagine my surprise:

From the study window
You can see it's been raining for a good while as the 17th Street Canal and Intra-City waterway is in its navigable state.  This is the best of all possible rains, as well, seein' as how it's a slow soaker without any of the Sturm und Drang we usually get here on The High Plains o' New Mexico.  It looks like it's gonna rain for a while longer:

That storm is drifting ever-so-slowly in a northeasterly direction.  I'm REALLY looking forward to Happy Hour today!

Back in a bit if there's anything worth sharing.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Late Start

We had a not-so-good night last evening.  I went to bed at a decent sort o' hour (for me), which is to say shortly before midnight, but then we were up and down nearly every hour until 0500.  I'm having the strangest difficulty with sinus congestion of late and it's not been fun at all.  The congestion has been irritating, but not irritating enough for me to make an appointment with my doctor, of course.  We've just been endeavoring to persevere, mostly.

So: late start.  I just poured my second cup and am working my way through the overnight mail.  Here's a lil plane pr0n from the Usual USAF Source that serves as a placeholder until such time as I get my excrement consolidated.

Republic of Singapore air force crew chief assigned to the 428th Fighter Squadron at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, waits for the arrival of an F-15SG aircraft prior to the start Red Flag 14-3, July 11, 2014 at Nellis AFB, Nev. Air Force photo by A1C Thomas Spangler.

I LOVE the color scheme on this bird!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

The Police, with an '80s chestnut:

You don't have to wear that dress tonight
Walk the streets for money
You don't care if it's wrong or if it's right

You don't have to put on the red light
You don't have to put on the red light
I had a Roxanne in my life in the way-wayback.  My Roxanne was my girlfriend during my senior year in high school and for a brief time after that.  Roxy was, quite literally, a Teen-Age Beauty Queen.  By that I mean the girl was a veteran beauty pageant contestant by the time she... we... were in high school.  That was prolly the most interesting thing about the girl, and she had the looks to prove it.  The least-interesting thing about her was her mother, who was the stereotypical stage mother... a woman who had an entire room in her house dedicated to Roxy's trophies, framed 8x10 glossies, dried flowers, tiaras, gowns, and every-frickin'-thing one can imagine about beauty pageants, dating back to Roxy's first competition when she couldn't have been more than a few months out of diapers.  The room was like a shrine and left me rather awe-struck the first time I saw it.  But back to the mother... 

Roxy's mom was a German war-bride, a fading beauty with that signature guttural German accent (that makes EVERYthing seem ominous and/or evil) who'd gone to seed quite a few years before I met her.  The woman also hated me with an unexplained passion; she made this quite plain and took no steps to conceal her contempt for me; insults were frequent and not at all that subtle.  As a matter of fact, Roxy's mom could have been modeled on Ilsa, whose image is at right; just add 30 pounds around the waistline and that's HER.  The woman was enough of a (w)itch that visits to the family home were painful and therefore quite rare.  Roxy and I spent most of our time together at my house or "out."  But we persevered, she and I, Mom be damned.

Well, we persevered until about two months after I left to join the Air Force.  I received my very first "Dear John" letter from Roxy the month I arrived at Keesler Airplane Patch after basic training.  I'm pretty sure Roxy went on to become a successful call girl; I'm just glad she ran into Sting.  Things could have ended badly, otherwise.


The post title is in reference to the photo above.  The answer?  This:
“Look at the wall,” David Mellor, the Boston Red Sox groundskeeper, said to sports photographer CJ Gunther. “Ok,” shrugged back Gunther. “No. Really look at it.” It was then that Gunther realized he was staring at hundreds of baseball marks scattered along Fenway’s famous Green Monster wall. “You need to come shoot pictures of these,” said Mellor.” And with Mellor’s declaration in 2009, CJ Gunther began his body of work, chronicling the detailed scars scattered across baseball’s arguably most famous wall. “My first reaction was awe. I’ve been coming here forever and never seen this,” recalls Gunther.
Go here to see the photos and read how they're made.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Saturday: Not Sold In Stores

Why have I not seen most of these on MY teevee?  I suppose I should be thankful I haven't.

For the record: slim video pickin's this week, what with The Usual Source of this stuff bein' on hiatus or otherwise indisposed.

Friday, July 25, 2014


We're just in from the verandah after consuming the first beer o' the day but we won't be taking a second brew outdoors.  Why?  Coz it's just a tad warmish at the moment.  Witness:

In the interest of full disclosure... This station has been known to be three or four degrees above other local stations when it comes to temperature reading(s).  Still and even, it could be 99 or 100 or 101 at the moment and I really don't care; once you break into triple digits it's HOT.  We shall now burn some incense and thank The Deity At Hand for central air conditioning.

More Idiots Among Us

It's easy to spot the grade-school dropouts in life.  They're the ones who can't... or won't... color within the lines.


What am I missing here?

Something?  Anything?

Yet another movie I won't be seeing.  One wonders how Hollywood manages to make any money these days.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

More hippie music...

We heard this on the RTB* leg o' Monday's mini-road trip.  We broke into the biggest o' big-ass grins when the tune came on, recalling as it did road trips o' days past, which is to say during Former Happy Days.  And we sang along, too, seein' as how we know all the words.

About my last, this:  We used to be fond o' sayin' all the best music eventually makes it into the car and stays there.  That statement referred to CDs and I said it a lot before I got XM/Sirius.  These days?  Not so much... not at all, even.  I don't have a single CD in The Tart, not one.  It's all XM, all the time.  That's not a BAD thing, Gentle Reader.

Second observation:  I find that I know all the words to a very large number of songs quite amazing and somewhat disturbing.  How is it that I can recall the lyrics to some obscure song from the 1970s and NOT remember important things, like my grand-children's birthdays?  That's very troubling.

* RTB: return to base 

Олово-фольги Шляпы*

You should read this if you're not aware of the Rooshian media's MH 17 coverage.  Yeah, I know it's TNR, but like Mom said: "even a stopped clock is right twice a day."

* Tin-foil hats

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack...

... makes an early appearance today, mainly coz we CAN.  The Stones:

I'm the man who walks the hillside
In the sweet summer sun
I'm the man that brings you roses
When you ain't got none
Well and I can run and jump
And fish, but I won't fight
You if you want to push
And pull with me all night
That lyric brings to mind this lil episode...

Apropos o' not much... the lady's immediate reaction was "No one has ever bought me roses before!"  Which, I suppose, might could be a comment about the class o' men she hung with before she met YrHmblScrb.  That said, we never did get around to that "push and pull with me all night" thing, even though we tried our BEST.  Insert big-ass sigh here.


A short film on watchmaking:

The micro-scale of the milling machines used to fabricate the gear wheels and such fascinates me, as does the deft touch required to assemble the watch.  It also makes me wonder how Seiko assembles their products.

Apropos o' not much, I quit wearing my greatly-beloved Seiko Lassale watch shortly after I moved in to El Casa Inmóvil De Pennington these three years ago.  The watch is sitting on my nightstand, patiently waiting for me to replace its battery, which may or may not ever happen.

Isn't she a beauty?

I can't bear to get rid of it, though.  We've been through a lot together.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Weird Al's "Mission Statement"

Anyone who's ever had to deal with dumb-ass mission statements will appreciate this:

I think Al hit ALL the buzzwords.  Apropos o' not much, on one unfortunate occasion I was tapped to participate in writing a mission statement after yet another in a series of endless corporate reorganizations.  That episode was painful beyond belief, aside from being a flaming waste of time.

No, that wasn't in the Air Force.  But there's this about that:

In Full Unapologetic Ranting Cranky Old Man Mode

So, I read over at The Officers Club (ed: a defunct blog) that the USAF has a new mission statement, to wit:
The Air Force changed its mission statement yesterday. The old MS reads:

The mission of the U.S. Air Force is to is to defend the United States through control and exploitation of air and space.

The new mission reads:

The mission of the United States Air Force is to deliver sovereign options for the defense of the United States of America and its global interests -- to fly and fight in Air, Space, and Cyberspace.
I'll begin with the only good thing about the new mission statement: at least The Management incorporated the old, unofficial mission statement: "To Fly and To Fight." So much for the good stuff.

Let's begin the rant.

Just what the HELL is a "sovereign option?" A military option that's exercised by the United States as a sovereign nation? Meaning we don't have to run it by the UN or France first? There's a good idea! Or options that are above all others, e.g., "superior" or "leading," as opposed to "ill-considered" or "secondary." I certainly HOPE we'd offer the country the best air and space defense options we have, to do less is dereliction of duty. Let's not quibble about words, however, let's just come right out and say it: It's STUPID and obfuscatory. Substituting "...deliver sovereign options for the defense of..." for the previous statement's "defend" makes the USAF sound like the freaking Chicago Board of Trade.

Let's pick a nit: how does one fly in "cyberspace?" Or, for that matter, how exactly do we fight in cyberspace? Networked video games? You can say we engage in space flight, but cyberspace-flight? Who are we trying to kid with this word? Including "cyberspace" in the mission statement isn't cutting edge, guys, it looks like what it is: a failed attempt at being cool. I can just hear it in the E-ring: "Air power is just SO passe on its own, we need something more au courant, something that sings! Let's work 21st century technology into the statement somewhere, OK? Get back to me." And so they did, by using a buzz word from the '90s. Shame on you.

And then there's this: Economy of Expression. Whenever you add 12 words to a sentence to express the same idea, you've taken a GIANT step backward. I personally think the old statement's 23 words was too verbose. 35 freaking words is beyond verbose, it's language-crime.

My last point. Anyone want to hazard a guess how many colonels and generals were tasked with writing the new statement? How much time was spent "staffing" the language and briefing it to the boss? I've played in some of these exercises, albeit at a much lower level, and I can tell you with some certainty the answer is: A LOT.

I could think of lots of better ways to burn cycles. Most of 'em have to do with winning the freaking war. Another good use of time would be convincing the doubters (senior DoD guys, congress) we absolutely need the F/A-22, in the numbers we've asked for. I use "we" because it's still MY Air Force, too.

And then there's this:
How did I miss this?  Specifically, "New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions," mentioned in the post immediately below.  "DWS" prolly has sumthin' to do with employment statistics, job opportunities, and the like but one cannot rightly tell from the pompous title.  I was thinkin' any organization with a title like "Workforce Solutions" just had to be ate up with the dumb-ass.  And I was right.  Witness:
The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions is a World-Class, market-driven workforce delivery system that prepares New Mexico job seekers to meet current and emerging needs of New Mexico businesses; and ensures that every New Mexico citizen who needs a job will have one; and every business who needs an employee will find one with the necessary skills and work readiness to allow New Mexico businesses to compete in a global economy.
That's their "vision statement," and they also have a mission statement, of course:
Enhance productivity and competitiveness of New Mexico business and industry by improving the quality and availability of the New Mexico workforce. We will accomplish this through a system that offers universal access to lifelong learning based on relevant local and regional labor market needs, via integrated, customer-focused accountable service partnerships. 
We ALL know any gub'mint org and most Fortune 500 companies need vision and mission statements chock-a-bloc with the latest and greatest in biz-school buzz words.  It's just too damned bad those things don't SAY or MEAN any-gotdamned-thing.  I can recall MANY painful hours working in ad hoc task forces chartered to develop such "statements" from my days with Ross Perot's Excellent Data Company... AFTER Mr. Perot left, of course.
"Mission Statements" might just be one o' my biggest hot buttons. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Is It Ever TOO Late?

To post, that is.  We spent the better part o' our day off the grid, beginning like this:

That would be a sunrise, Gentle Reader, sumthin' we rarely see these days.  We took the pic from inside The Tart, shortly after oh-dark-thirty.  We were gone for about 12 hours and this is what we looked like at the end o' our day:

We killed us some bugs today (click to embigify).  I'm thinkin' it would look a lot worse than this had we not hit that half-hour rain storm on our way back to base.  Bad enough, though... I see a beauty shop appointment in The Tart's immediate future.

And now it's back out to the verandah for our second beer.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Nice Ride!

Does this look familiar?

That would be SN2 and DIL Alisa, standing next to their new-to-them 1990 Corvette.  SN2 called me Friday evening to let me know their latest baby was home and filled me in on all the details.  Which, to wit: a 1990 Vette convertible, 40K miles on the clock, six-speed manual, and the UCR small-block V-8 in its 245 HP iteration.  This is the Vette I SHOULD have bought in the way-back, which is to say a convertible and a six-speed.  The Second Mrs. Pennington wouldn't be denied, however, and we got an automatic, hardtop Vette.  As for the familiarity bits?  This:

TSMP and HER 'Vette, the weekend after we bought her.  On M-25, just south of Harbor Beach, MI.

Nice color!

Forty-Five Years Ago Today

A couple of friends and I watched the landing on a teeny-tiny black and white teevee in a little after-hours bar in Wakkanai, Japan.  In Japanese, since the coverage was on NHK.  Where were you?