Monday, November 20, 2017

The Overcivilization Of The American Male

My neighborhood, like many others, has a website forum where people ask various questions such as referrals for tradespeople and complaints about stuff, etc.

One message in this morning's digest had me shaking my head in disbelief:

Dead possum in backyard

We have a dead possum in our backyard in one of our bushes. Our dog has been going after it all day. Can anyone recommend someone who would be willing to dispose of it and remove it from our yard?

Thank you!

This was from a guy, no less.

That a modern male cannot handle the disposal of a dead possum in his own backyard is a pretty damning indictment of the lack of some very basic life skills for a modern male in today's society.

Pajama boy just doesn't do well outside his sheltered happy bubble especially if something as little as a dead possum is beyond his ken to handle.


Saturday, November 18, 2017

Not Flying - Fog Is Not Your Friend

'Twas not an auspicious day for flying today.

It was not just low IFR, it was fogged in all the way down to the surface, and visibility was measured in feet not nautical miles. You practically needed an instrument rating just to drive to the airport. Certainly no flying was going to happen today in that.

Instead I attended a free and informative seminar at DCT Aviation on ATC and winter weather flying. While a lot of it was aimed at IFR pilots I certainly picked up lots of useful information.

The seminar was conducted by a gentleman in his 80s with about 30,000 plus hours of flying experience. In short, he may have forgotten more about flying than I know, and he hasn't forgotten much at all if anything.

Lots of useful tips for communication with ATC, including some scenarios I'd never even thought about, lots of info to make communications even better and more effective, and much that will help once I start doing IFR training.

Plenty of information on winter weather flying, much of which dealt with icing, which at my level means don't fly into icing conditions, period.

A very nice opportunity to learn more about flying, and time well spent.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Singapore - The Botanical Gardens

Singapore is often called the Garden City, so of course we had to visit the botanical gardens.

The gardens from the outside look like two large domes, with posts that look like large trees in a large courtyard in front of them.

As you enter the gardens after paying the entry fee, you see a waterfall with two walkways that circle the perimeter of the entire building letting you look down upon the natural beauty before you.

Flowers are all around you as you stroll through the gardens.

There are multiple levels to the gardens, including a lower level forming a cave complete with stalagmites and stalactites.

Ascending the highest walkway around the inside of the dome, to the cloud forest, we looked down through the mist left by the waterfalls.

The large posts outside in the shape of trees are lit up at night.

Each night there's a musical show with the trees all pulsing different colors.

As we visited during the National Day celebrations, the songs were distinctly patriotic and stressed the unity of Singapore's people and that Singapore was their home.

Yes, they were really pushing the "One Nation Singapore" theme.

The gardens are a really beautiful spot to see in Singapore, with an amazing variety of flowers and plants from the tropics and elsewhere, and the night show with all of the posts pulsating in time to the music was really neat to watch and the gardens are well worth visiting and enjoying.

So That's Why Clinton Allegations Are Resurfacing Now

The Detroit Free Press: Joe Biden vs. Donald Trump in 2020? Poll predicts winner

The Democrat establishment seems to be trying to clear away the obstacles, namely a very large one named Hillary Clinton, for Joe Biden to run as the Democrat establishment candidate in 2020.

If former Vice President Joe Biden is thinking about a run for president in 2020, there's reason to believe he could do well against President Donald Trump. On Wednesday, polling firm Morning Consult and the publication POLITICO put out a survey showing Biden leading Trump 46% to 35% in a hypothetical race between the two for president in 2020.

Of course whether the creepy Uncle Joe allegations slow down the Biden train, or his numerous gaffes. Biden's gaffes, even as the media will likely go full court-press to cover for him. are the gifts from the git that keep on giving.

Biden's latest but likely base-pleasing gaffe that the hero who stopped the church shooting using an AR15 should not have been allowed to have an AR15 will go over well with the anti-gun elites in the party. But, the gaffe likely cost him in the election as gun control and gun bans don't seem to be playing nor polling well.

Of course, these same polling organizations that claim Biden will win it in 2020 are the very same ones that proclaimed Hillary! was inevitably going to take it in a walk.

That didn't quite happen, and any proclamations of an inevitable Biden victory should be taken with a very large, gaffe and creepy crusted grain of salt.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Blue On Blue

The Detroit News: DPD Chief: Cop fight during raid 'embarrassing'

Officers from the 11th Precinct ha a search warrant for a suspected drug house and as they approached the house they came upon undercover officers from the 12th precinct that were apparently doing undercover buy/bust work.

The meeting did not go well.

The plain-clothes officers were directed to the ground and at some point, an officer from the 11th Precinct pointed a shotgun at the officers, Craig said.

"Once that brief encounter was over, the 11th Precinct officers continued on to execute the search warrant," he said. "So this is when things started to go terribly wrong."

As officers from the 11th Precinct entered the home, officers from the 12th Precinct also entered and a dispute began, the chief said.

"We know from video there was arguing, some pushing and shoving and at one point, one officer grabbed another in a headlock and there was a subsequent punch," Craig said.

He said the officer who was struck retaliated with another punch. One officer was treated at a hospital for a contusion on his lip and the other was treated at a different hospital for a black eye. Both were released after being treated, he said.

Apparently the house in question was in the 11th Precinct on the border with the 12th Precinct and both Precincts failed to coordinate their activities with each other. None of the officers were badly hurt and it could have been worse, wiht luck they'll coordinate their actions better in the future.

Seatbelts Save Lives, But Only If Actually Used

Failing to wear them doesn't.

The Detroit Free Press: Crash on I-94 in Harper Woods kills 4 people; toddler survives

About 1 a.m. Monday morning, a 2006 Buick SUV with five people inside was traveling at a high rate of speed when the driver lost control while trying passing another vehicle and struck the 8 Mile overpass in Harper Woods, according the the release. Four adults between the ages of 18 and 25 were instantly killed in the crash, MSP said. The release also stated that none of the adults were wearing a seat belt.

None of the adults were wearing a seat belt, and both males were apparently ejected from the vehicle during the crash. The vehicle managed to cross three lanes of oncoming traffic before hitting the overpass bridge and the only survivor was a toddler that was properly buckled in.

Not much good happens when you're speeding along unbelted at one in the morning. Your guess is as good as mine as to whether alcohol was a factor in reducing judgment and ability.

A stupid waste on all counts.

One Would Think That Would Be Important To Know . . .

The Wall Street Journal: Equifax CEO to Congress: Not Sure We Are Encrypting Data

"Not sure" is possibly dissimulation for "No, we're not encrypting data", or "Don't tell the boss we're not encrypting data".

After one of the largest and most publicized data breaches in history, for Equifax not to be 100% positive that all pertinent consumer data in their possession is encrypted as an additional line of defense should be considered nothing short of a criminal failure.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Flying - Rockin' The Pattern in The Gloom

I had planned yet again for a day to fly out to Jackson and meet up with a fellow pilot friend for lunch. Today would yet again not be that day.

The weather was VFR not recommended all the way out there, some icing Airmets and MVFR conditions at Pontiac, and it was lightly raining.

I headed to the airport anyways even as the cross-country was completely out, just to see if I could get in some flight time.

Arriving there at noon, the flight school dispatcher stated there was no VFR flying outside the airport environs but pattern was ok.

So I preflighted N8570F in the light drizzle and started her up.

Visibility was about 5 miles, ceilings were low at 2,000 feet, but the wind started out calm, and the light rain didn't really interfere with flying. It was definetly a pattern day as low overcast was in every direction.

I joined the pattern for 27R traffic after a nice smooth takeoff. I then found the top door latch, which I had closed, was not very latchy, and I got some extra air conditioning from the wind. The main latch held and it was no real issue - don't let yourself get distracted by it and fly the plane first. I followed a Piper Warrior around the pattern and landing number one was very nice and smooth. I then opened and shut the door again but the upper latch still didn't fully latch shut. No big deal and I continued the patterns with a little more wind noise than usual.

Landing number 2 was simply sublime - the plane literally went from flying to rolling with no perceptible impact with the ground. That was a landing to savor.

Pattern number three was fun as I was to follow a Diamond and couldn't pick it out of the soupy, greyish sky for nothing. I finally caught sight of it turning base and then continued my downwind and came in and did another nice landing adjusting for the extended downwind I took while trying to find it, and then landing as it did the go part of a touch and go.

There were a few jets coming in on the parallel runway, and with the wind calm they had a jet do a takeoff from 9R so we had opposite traffic which was interesting with my plane leaving from 27R and us flying past each other.

The wind then kicked up for Pattern 4 blowing from 180 degrees at 8 knots - no big deal at all, and I nicely did the crosswind correction and on the 180 degree direct 8 knot crosswind the upwind wheel touched down first, followed by the downwind wheel and then finally the nose wheel. Just as it should and I was quite happy.

The wind continued to blow from 180-220 degrees between 5-8 knots the rest of the time and it took only a slight bit of crosswind correction to handle.

Pattern 5 I came in a bit high and adjusted and made yet another nice landing, followed by my practicing a short field takeoff for variety, and then 2 more great landings on Patterns 6 and 7 and I decided to call it a day.

No bounces, no hard landings, and every landing was one that I would be proud to call my own and importantly they were all consistently good. To say I had a lot of fun up there today would be an understatement.

1.2 and 7 landings.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Affordable Care, Accessible Care, or Amazing Care - Pick Two, or Maybe Just One

There's an interesting article over how on Doctor found out how insurance preauthorization requests for medicine are dealt with, and to someone with no idea of economics, nor of the messed-up state of our health system it seems shocking.

Medpage Today: Who Actually Is Reviewing All Those Preauthorization Requests?

While it is on the Internet, there's no reason to disbelieve the veracity of the account. Some Facebook friends were in high dudgeon over how dare an insurance company deny requests due to cost, after all how dare they?

As explained in the account, if they approve every expensive treatment to everyone who requests it the system goes broke - and fast.

Obamacare isn't making it any better and if anything is making it worse combining even more byzantine regulations, taxes, and fees that serve to subsidize one portion of the population at the expense of everyone else.

While some people demand we adopt the Canadian health care system, that system scores high on affordable (to the patients if not the government and overall payers) but low on accessibility due to wait times and low on amazing as many treatments are withheld or denied due to lack of resources as everyone is scrambling for all of it. You'll get access to care all right, in a few months or years, eventually, if you don't die first. Canada while excellent for access to emergency medicine is pretty lousy for access to non-emergency issues - average time in Ontario for an MRI for example is 101 days. Depending on the situation, you may not have that time to wait, not to mention waiting possibly in pain for 100 days to get whatever is wrong diagnosed. Looking over that site, while they often claim they're close to hitting their targeted date, the date itself for many procedures is set pretty darn far out beyond what would be acceptable to people in the USA to make it an achievable goal with the resources they have, and they often can't hit it even after they set it up with that in mind.

Yes, the US Healthcare system is a complete mess, so much so that it's hard to tell what the cost for a procedure even is before you have it, and depending on the insurance you have, you might pay for some, all, or none of it. Even the amount actually paid for the procedure after it is billed can also vary dramatically.

Adding to the fun the US Pharmaceutical market subsidizes the world market in pharmaceuticals as the same drug s sold cheaper elsewhere due to either government purchases and formularies or because the company knows that Americans can be made to pay more. Since people in other countries can't, the companies decide to make less overall profit in those countries but maintain some volume there and make at least something for their drugs and they then makeup the profit margins back in the US.

No easy answers to the problem, and anyone who tells you they can get you Affordable Care, Accessible Care, and Amazing Care all together just by adopting their genius plan to revise the American healthcare system is lying to you.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

PPO Fun in Court Today

Today was Personal Protection Order day in court.

Oftentimes and as was seen in court today, a Personal Protection Order is sought sometimes just because some people can't communicate effectively nor take "No" for an answer, or for some serious and actual threats or acts of violence. We got to see both examples while I was waiting for my client to be called.

We had EXs sparring over nasty emails sent to each other and the court told them to play nice or else but did not enter the PPO in that case.

We had a case where a dingbat separated from his wife broke down her door and punched a visitor at the house thinking he was involved with his ex, and yes a PPO was justly entered in that one.

My client had a higher end threat to deal with and quite the story to tell. You see, he was in a romantic relationship with a lady who apparently liked having ongoing multiple yet separate relationships with her being the part of multiple couples and couplings so to speak. He was ok with the non-exclusivity part yet it turned out another boyfriend, who we shall name Mongo for both his intellect and overall size, was not.

Said boyfriend Mongo gets liquored up one night, buys some knives and ammo and starts heading to my clients' place where he knows my client and the lady are located. Oh, and he was wearing a skull mask while driving there, and it sure wasn't Halloween.

Luckily for all concerned, Mongo was stopped by police on his way to carry out his plan and they have him clearly and cleanly for DUI....and then they find the knives and other accoutrements in the vehicle. The police, being rather perceptive police and on the ball after stopping a drunken masked man with knives and ammo, after Mirandizing him ask Mongo what that's all for.

Remember the line from Ron White that he had the right to remain silent but lacked the ability? If you haven't seen that clip, click and go forth and watch it, it is worth it.

Mongo sure lacked the ability.

At the roadside Mongo says he was heading over there to kill them. This definitely piques the police's interest. After further custodial interrogation and after he's Mirandized yet again Mongo again states he is heading over to kill them and doesn't care if he goes to jail. Mongo does not wax poetic on being a pawn in the game of life, Mongo instead wants to go kill people.

So why yes, he does go to jail.

Then he pleads guilty to two felonies, one of which is carrying a weapon with unlawful intent - said unlawful intent being to do in my client, and the DUI. But, Mongo gets time served while waiting to be sentenced, and is released on probation upon entry of his plea and is now out on the streets.

This makes my client a little concerned so we file a PPO and have the hearing today.

After making a record of the incident to the court and other procedural niceties, relaying the facts and circumstances and the very credible nature of the threats and subsequent felony convictions that arose from the incident, the court has no problem entering the PPO against Mongo.

I also advised my client that getting a firearm, a CPL and appropriate training would likely be a valuable option in case Mongo decides to get frisky again and shows up at his house to carry out his threat.