Tuesday, July 25, 2017

You Don't See That Everyday - A Democrat Politician With His Hands In His Own Pockets

Michigan's upcoming gubernatorial race is getting all sorts of interesting on the Democrat side.

Plenty of politicians and others on the D side are playing "Will she?, Nil she?", as they decide if they should compete against the "Its my turn" politician Gretchen Whitmer and Democrat party heir apparent to the governorship race, who is hardly inspiring nor anything more than a D-line politician and likely will not contribute much to Democrat enthusiasm in the upcoming election. The "I am woman hear me roar" approach kind of fizzled with Hillary! and it'll like fizzle even more so with the even less inspiring and rather insipid Whitmer.

Potential candidates have put their toes into the race and dropped out, including Mark Bernstein of the Sam Bernstein local legal dynasty and Mike Duggan, the Mayor of Detroit who I daresay smartly kept out of it as he's pretty secure and ding a decent job in Detroit as Mayor now. Others have yet to formally jump in or decline such as Mark Hackel. Hackel is Macomb County's Executive and former Macomb County Sheriff, who is likely too darn honest, too level-headed, too uncorrupt, and not driven sufficiently by ideology to get past the Democrat base to make it as a candidate for governor. If he did though, he'd have one heckuva good chance to take it as a mainstream prgamtic and well-spoken candidate with proven abilities.

But now, along comes the rarest of Democrats - one putting his own money in the race to become governor.

The Detroit News: Democrat Shri Thanedar pumps $3.3M into governor’s run

Certainly not something you see everyday, and good for him for putting his own money on the table.

Its going to be an interesting Governor's race here in Michigan, that's for sure. If Fieger enters the Democrat race for Governor again, and it looks like he's maneuvering to do so, prepare the clown car folks, and have the popcorn ready.

Flying Lesson # 142 - Solo On And Off The 9 Side

A really nice day today for a lunchtime solo flight. The sky was clear, winds light but shifty and Pontiac was using Runways 9L and 9R.

I took off from Runway 9L and headed to the northeast for the practice area.

Once near the proving grounds I did some clearing turns followed by some steep turns, slow flight, and did my stalls.

Then back to Pontiac for some pattern work.

The first landing tower asked me to keep my base in close so he could sequence some traffic and I obliged and did a darn nice landing wiht the winds form 030 at 8 if I say so myself. I'm talking smooth, even though I haven't landed on the 9 side in awhile solo or otherwise and its always fun to come over the water and tree line onto 9L.

Then I headed back and did it again and the winds came up to 10 knots out of 360 for a full crosswind of 10 knots, which was no problem to me at all, and I simply put in a crosswind correction and greased the landing. This gave much confidence.

The next pattern the wind shifted again but ended up right down 090 at 5 knots which made it really easy. Again another smooth landing.

Then the wind shifted to 130 at 6 and again I did a nice landing and decided to call it a day. Tower had me roll on tdown to the end which was rather nice of them and I then contacted ground, headed back to DCT, parked the plane and that was it.

1.3 and 4 landings.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Flying Lesson #141 - Really Quick Up And Down

I was scheduled to fly at 2 but my instructor called and asked me to come in at 12 as he had a cancellation. I said fine as I'm helpful that way. Big mistake.

This is because at 11:30 the skies open up with rain, the clouds fall to marginal VFR conditions and rain comes on nicely.

Once I arrive at the airport the rain has stopped but the clouds are low.

I preflight N5337F, an Archer I haven't flown in much if at all, and discover the seats are way low and do not adjust upwards. We actually both require cushions to see sufficiently over the nose. One main landing strut is way taller than the other but its fine and good to go.

I start it up and it wants to be a pain and it takes a few tries to get the motor to catch. We get clearance to taxi and takeoff and we're going to do pattern work as it is a damn low ceiling. As it turns out, its lower than that.

We takeoff, get to pattern altitude and it's cloudy with a chance of a little visibility. Not particularly good, as in IFR condition at the pattern height flying through clouds from crosswind to and in the downwind.

So we do the pattern in these serious clouds on downwind, I cut in a short base to keep the runway visual and I do another nice landing and that's it for this lesson.

Of course, as I sit here to type this it is now the time for my original flight and the clouds have cleared and its nice out. Sheesh.

0.3 and 1 landing. The only upside to this is it gave a perfectly round number for total hours for my logbook, the down side is that total number is ridiculous.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

While They Were Horsing Around . . . We Went On A Field Trip

Last Saturday, while Leah and Tash went to Breyerfest, Abby and I headed off to a place where they take corn, rye and barley and use them for a more glorious and noble purpose:

Yes, we drove a few miles out of Lexington to visit the Buffalo Trace Distillery. One of the oldest distilleries in America, it makes many fine products.

It was pretty busy that Saturday and while all the reserved tours were cancelled as they were on Summer shut down so some areas were not available to be seen, such as the huge mash tanks, but they did offer a free 1 hour tour that we took.

First we went to the visitor's center and then the old firehouse that has been changed into a sandwich shop - we had some excellent hot dogs and root beer before going on our tour.

The tour was led by a very friendly and knowledgeable gentleman who is a University folklorist in his regular job.

We learned how the distillery was one of 4 that were allowed to operate during Prohibition, making medicinal spirits that could be acquired in limited quantities via a doctor's prescription. The solution of course was to have a large family with each of the kids getting a scrip so the parents would have at least something to drink.

We saw a nicely produced film on the distillery and how whiskey is made and how they use different variations in the mash to get different products. The mash is fermented and then distilled, and then aged in new charred oak barrels.

This is Warehouse Cone of the storage houses where the barrels of whiskey are aged. Each floor gives the whiskey a different quality - the upper floors have larger temperature swings so the quicker maturing whiskies are located there. Buffalo Trace tends to be on the middle floors and product like Weller and Pappy Van Winkle resides in the basement.

Note how the racks are actually built into the walls. The building survived a tornado in 2006 that tore the rook off but otherwise did not harm the buiding - it apparently created a very fine whiskey that year as a result and they're trying to replicate the effects of the storm on the shiskey even today.

We then entered Warehouse C, labelled as Bonded Storage Building C

And within the building:

Barrel upon barrel of Whiskey slowly aging to perfection in the dark, hence the lousy photo. We were on the lowest floor and saw barrels that might, should they meet quality standards, become Pappy Van Winkle 23 Year - aged 23 years and the barrel loses 30% of its volume the first year and 3% or so each year thereafter - that's why Pappy's is rather rare and expensive. They don't make much and if it doesn't meet their standards its not released. The building had a lovely smell of whiskey all about it.

After that we got to see the bottling facility and some Blanton's Single Barrel that had just been bottled and packaged for shipping.

then off to the tasting room for a sample.

You could try 2 of either Buffalo Trace, White Dog Mash, Wheatly Vodka, or Eagle Rare. I tried some White Dog Mash and Eagle Rare. The White Dog - unaged Whiskey fresh from the still had a sweetish corn taste and at 125 proof went down rather well when sipped, or when others tried to slam it a coughing fit that was rather humorous to watch.

The Eagle Rare, a Bourbon aged for 10 years was very nice and refined indeed.

Then everyone got some Bourbon Cream, a drink like Irish Cream, but better, as a dessert.

Abby contented herself with a free Root Beer that she enjoyed quite nicely as in lieu of alcohol as they gave her a rather large and cold glass of the quite tasty root beer.

Then we went to the visitor's center again and I picked up a bottle of Bourbon Cream and a T-shirt to take home and that was our visit to Buffalo Trace.

It was a darn good trip and if you're ever visiting the Lexington area, the Buffalo Trace distillery is well worth visiting.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

It Was Like Dragon's Milk To Him

Because it was Dragon's Milk.

When I met up with Tom last Friday night, I presented him with a bottle of this fine Michigan product:

At 11% it has quite a kick that sneaks up on you, and then drop kicks you especially as it comes in a bottle containing a pint and 6 ounces.

It tastes a bit like Guinness that's been aged in a bourbon barrel. It has a very deep, complex, and rather roasted taste that grows on you as you sip it, or the alcohol content does anyways.

Tom appreciated it, and even moreso when I told him the story behind it:

For you see, New Holland has Michigan's oldest monastery where the monks have taken a vow of silence, and within the walls of the monastery is indeed a real live dragon that is milked to produce the eponymous wonderful substance that I brought to him.

Milking a dragon is rather hard work as a dragon tends to take exception to it, typically by ripping your arms off.

So twin monks were tasked with the job of milking the dragon.

It went well until the Dragon grew annoyed with the first one and sure enough ripped his arms off.

The Abbott then had to find him a new job, and the only one he could do was to climb the tower and ring the monastery bell to signal the time of day by taking a running jump at it and hitting it with his head.

This he did for sometime with great devotion and fervor and until one day he missed a jump and fell down the tower and sadly broke his neck and died.

MIOSHA, OSHA and the coroner came out and inspected the premises and asked the Abbott if he had any information on this now deceased monk.

"I don't know much about him or even his name", said the Abbott, "But his face sure rings a bell."

But the story doesn't end there. His twin, who had taken over the milking of the dragon also eventually fell prey to having his arms ripped off and sure enough, he too was tasked with ringing the bell.

Sure enough, after leaping at the bell and ringing it loudly, the day came where he too fell to his death.

Again MIOSHA, OSHA and the coroner came and asked for information on the incident and the identity of the deceased.

The Abbot again sadly stated, "I don't really know who he is either, but he's a dead ringer for the previous guy".

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Flying Lesson #140 - Some Quality Usable Alone Time

This morning the weather was most promising. A scattered layer about 4,000 and winds around 9 from 180.

Might as well go up for a flight.

So I preflight N1689H and find that the right fuel sump will not stop dripping. It's a slow and steady drip, but an ongoing drip all the same. Tugging on it does nothing. I ask a maintenance fellow at the flight school and he examines it and then quickly swaps it out for a new part. Turns out a bit of dirt inside it was stopping the spring from fully closing the valve, thus letting it drip fuel.

With that done and both fuel tanks at the tabs, meaning there was 17 gallons in each tank. Plenty enough for the planned flight.

Oh yes, I was going to be flying alone, something I hadn't done for a month.

A good start and I had got the ATIS already while the guy was fixing the sump so I got a taxi clearance and headed to the run up area. Did the run up and headed to the runway. The runway was rather busy as 27L was closed again, leaving everyone and their propellers turning onto 27R. No matter, I've got this.

A nice takeoff with some left wind correction in and I was up.

It was a lot quieter with the right seat unoccupied.

I headed to the practice area by dead reckoning and got over the proving grounds, did some clearing turns and then did some maneuvers - slow flight, stalls, and steep turns (which still aren't quite how I want them) and then lower for turns around a point and some S turns across a road.

Then after a few lazy circles just enjoying the view I switched fuel tanks and headed back to Pontiac.

Once within hailing range there it was clear that it was rather busy with a number of planes in the pattern and some coming and going.

I first had a clearance to check in once hitting 2.5 miles away for a right base, but they then amended that to a 4 mile straight in final.

I then came in and did a darn nice light crosswind landing as the wind was 180 at 9 and it was damn smooth if I say so myself. I mean really nice. The sort of perfect landings that only happen when no one is watching and there's no instructor i the right seat of your plane. I then got clearance to taxi back to 27R and do it again.

The next time around the pattern was quite nice and I did yet another nice smooth (if slightly more solid than the previous one) landing.

The next takeoff took awhile as quite a few planes were lined up both to land and takeoff. It was get in line and then line up and wait time.

I went around the patter and then the tower announced they would call my base due to traffic. Then I got a clearance to turn base at my discretion as I was now clear of traffic and had seen the traffic turning base to final and followed it in and did a really smooth landing - stable, precise airspeed and just a beautiful approach, round-out, and flare. Very nice indeed. I decided to call it at that point as my time was getting close due to the late start from the sump valve repair and I did the taxi back to the flight school.

1.3 and 3 darn nice landings.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Kentucky Weekend

Kentucky is horse country.

Leah is big into horses.

This worked out rather fortuitously this last weekend was Breyerfest - a horse fair and model horse extravaganza.

It turns out Breyer model horses are a very big deal, with quite a following and they put on quite an event.

So we decided to take her to Breyerfest held at the Kentucky Horse park in Lexington.

We stayed at an AirBnB that was an actual horse farm and she was thrilled and many horses happily accepted carrots fed to them by hand.

However the trip down could have been smother.

First was construction in Toledo, next was an over hour delay due to an accident on I-75 further south in Ohio.

Next was construction right in Cincinnati right before the border with Kentucky.

Finally we saw this:

But only after we had lost over another hour in standstill traffic there. That made it a seven and a half hour trip which sucked mightily.

But we made it there and met up with Tom of Daddybear's Den and his family for dinner on Friday night at a nice BBQ restaurant they had recommended, and had a very nice time catching up and chatting. Great people.

After that we headed back to the horse farm, unpacked and made the beds and that was Friday.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Canada Pays The Danegeld - Terrorist Receives $10.5 Million

Canada just gave 10.5 Million dollars to Omar Khadr, a Canadian who fought against the US and Canada in Afghanistan as part of Al Qaeda.

Note well that Canada quickly and quietly paid the money out to Omar Khadr, before the family of Sgt. Chris Speer, an American soldier killed by Khadr in Afghanistan, who Khadr admitted to killing, could get it blocked to enforce their judgment against Khadr.

This quick payment to screw over the widow of an American soldier was intentional:

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a source familiar with the situation told The Canadian Press that the government wanted to make the financial payment to Khadr promptly to get ahead of a massive U.S. court award against him. “The money has been paid,” the source said.

To say that this is beyond shameful and a parody of what a sane government should do is an understatement.

Given Khadr and family's background and close ties to Al Qaeda, the likelihood of a goodly sum of this money heading to terrorist groups is pretty much assured. I wonder if part of the deal said he can't use it to attack Canadians.

Whether this was a payoff in exchange for terrorists not attacking Canada and Canadian interests under the guise of paying a terrorist for the discomfort of being hosted in Guantanamo after his capture as a terrorist is certainly open to question. As usual the proggy editors of the Toronto Star are falling all over themselves on how righteous and upholding of Canadian values of making such an insane payoff.

The only payoff Khadr deserves is about $0.50 moving at 1,246.7 fps at his forehead.

This isn't the first time Canada has shamefully helped bad actors out. During the Somalia incident, Canada gave asylum to Mohammad Farah Aideed's family while US and UN forces were hunting him. Whether it was a quid pro quo in return for making sure Canadian troops in Somalia were not attacked was never explained. Yep, while American soldiers were being killed in the Blackhawk down incident, Aideed's family were living on welfare in Canada.

Canadians now and in the future should and will hopefully look back on this decision to payoff a convicted terrorist in outrage, shame and disbelief.