Thursday, March 31, 2016

Just Like You or Me, Except A Connected Politician

Virgil Smith, a Michigan State Senator, and noted anti-gun Democrat just got the plea deal of a lifetime.

It likely also didn't hurt that his father is the chief judge at Wayne County Circuit Court where he was charged.

Picture this: You decide to, and proceed to shoot at your ex-wife with an AR15 after an argument as she drives away from your house. You are under no threat at the time.

Anyone with a lick of sense would tell you not to do this considering there's absolutely zero justification for doing so and if you do that you're going to jail.

Anyone who did such a blatantly criminal action could expect to be easily convicted of a variety of justified charges -- that Mr. Smith was indeed initially charged with -- such as: domestic violence assault and battery, felonious assault, and Michigan's slam-dunk felony of using a firearm during a felony charge which carries a 2 year sentence all by itself.

Looks like any person in such a situation would be looking at a nice long stint behind bars in what is quite an open and shut case, right? Awfully hard to defend the indefensible. After all, the Senator committed violence against women, used an "assault weapon" and apparently had ongoing alcohol and mental health issues that likely should have barred him from owning a firearm assuming they are true and not made up excuses for his actions:

Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Lisa Lindsey told the court that medical records indicated Smith suffered from bipolar depression and may have been in a hypomanic episode during the time. She also said Smith had a traumatic brain injury from a rollover accident in December 2014 and was “alcohol dependent at the time of this event.”

In short that would make any normal person the media poster boy for gun control. It would be hard to find anyone in disagreement that someone doing such an indefensible act should go to jail for a very long time indeed. Your average idiot would indeed be looking at serious time for such inexcusable actions.

So of course, Mr. Smith got a sweet, sweet, plea deal:

Smith pleaded guilty to a felony count of malicious destruction of personal property of $20,000 or more in connection with the incident outside his home on Wexford last May and on March 14 was sentenced to 10 months in jail with no early release.
The Detroit News: State Sen. Virgil Smith in court Monday on plea deal fate

Even better, as part of the deal, he was required to resign his position as State Senator, but now per the judge he won't have to do so.

The judge has now ruled he doesn't have to resign but refused to negate the plea agreement as that would not be in the interests of justice, so he can continue to collect a $71,000 salary while in jail.

The Detroit Free Press: Sen. Virgil Smith keeps his job, goes to jail

Apparently, it's good to be an anti-gun Democrat Senator in Michigan.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Otto Skorzeny Was Working For Who After World War 2?

Otto Skorzeny, a committed Nazi SS commando extraordinaire had quite an interesting wartime career and post-war.

Much of his post-war career is shrouded in mystery.

A new revelation sheds some light on what he was doing and most importantly for whom, likely much to the chagrin of the Neo-Nazi set that tends to venerate him.

Haaretz: The Strange Case of a Nazi Who Became an Israeli Hitman

. . . the most astounding revelation is the Mossad agent who fired the fatal gunshots: Otto Skorzeny, one of the Israeli spy agency’s most valuable assets, was a former lieutenant colonel in Nazi Germany’s Waffen-SS and one of Adolf Hitler’s personal favorites among the party’s commando leaders. The Führer, in fact, awarded Skorzeny the army’s most prestigious medal, the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross, for leading the rescue operation that plucked his friend Benito Mussolini out from the hands of his captors.

So Hitler's top commando was recruited and working for the Mossad after the war? Mind boggling, and quite the case of strange bedfellows indeed.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Very Stupid People Tricks

There's a trifecta of stupid people doing stupid stuff around Michigan in the news today.

First we have the pilot that somehow misinterpreted the rule of 8 hours bottle to throttle to mean 8 bottles to get to the throttle: The Detroit News: Co-pilot allegedly found drunk before flight charged.

Someone's flying career is likely done and over for a very long time.

Not only do we have tales of an idiot with alcohol and a plane, but also one with a train: The Detroit News: Police: Man breaks arm walking into side of train

I don't even want to think about how inebriated you have to be to walk into the side of a train.

Then we have the case of the ungrateful idiot teen: The Detroit News: Teen who plotted to kill family gets 10-20 years

Alcohol was apparently not involved in the last case, but she was likely under the influence of lust for a rather evil boyfriend, which can have stupid effects similar or worse than that of alcohol.

That's a whole lot of stupid in one news-day, and we're not even talking about the case of State Senator Virgil Smith that I'll discuss tomorrow (hint - the Blue State apparatchiks take care of their own).

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Jett And The Beautiful Day

Not a cloud in the sky, and calm winds and it was warm so of course I wasn't scheduled to fly today, unlike yesterday when i was scrapping frost off the plane.

Instead we did family things, including a nice long walk to a local park as the weather was finally awesome. No jackets needed.

Jett enjoyed his time outside immensely.

First we took him for a nice long walk all around the neighborhood and walked him there and played some ball with him as Leah climbed all over the playground.

It appeared that the entire neighborhood had emerged from hibernation - people and dogs alike all walked the streets to enjoy the sun.

Jett played with multiple dogs and had a grand time.

He also got to bark at squirrels.

To cap off a perfect day for Jett, he actually caught a squirrel by outrunning it and catching it on our lawn. He gave it a few shakes, and the squirrel gave a squirrel chittering yell and Jett let it go. The squirrel then was limping away wondering what was the license of the truck that had just hit him.

That's one squirrel at least that will think twice about hanging out in our yard teasing Jett through the windows.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Flying Lesson #45 - First Solo Cross Country Completed!

Today was the day for the cross country solo.

I had called for an outlook weather briefing last night and everything looked good.

This morning the weather briefing was again excellent.

Unfortunately somehow everyone sipped the low cloud ceilings form their forecasts.

I arrived at KPTK and the solid overcast level was at 1,100 feet - too low to go.

So I preflighted the plane, N757MK in this case, got it fully fueled and good to go, and then waited for the overcast layer to burn off.

It finally burned off to 1,800 feet so I was good to go. While it was lower than I had planned to fly, the instructors were ok with it and as long as I was comfortable they said I could go on ahead.

I took off from 9L and had approval for an immediate left turn to head north.

I got on course, found my way points and headed off to Bad Axe.

I was typically at 2,500 feet, below the cloud layer until past Lapeer, when it raised enough to get up to 3,500 and then became just scatterings of clouds that were easily avoided.

I then passed Marlette and soon the windmills around Bad Axe came into view and I got the automated weather report, which had the wind coming out of 170, which was perfect for Bad Axe's runway 17.

There were a couple other planes landing at Bad Axe, so I announced myself and then entered the left downwind and landed after them with quite a decent landing if I say so myself. I did a full stop, taxied on back to the beginning of Runway 17 and headed back to Pontiac.

By then the layer had broken up even more except around Pontiac where there was still a fair bit there. Pontiac was getting busy enough to go to two towers, and from listening to their frequency early enough I picked up on that before they even announced it over the ATIS and made contact on the proper frequency. Apparently my instructors were listening to the transmission and thought I handled the radio very well and apparently sounded confident and like I knew what I was doing, so there's that.

I got cleared to come in on a base approach for runway 9 left and there was a 10 knot wind coming out of 160 degrees at that point, which was a bit annoying. I did a decent enough cross-wind landing but certainly not my best, but it was good enough to get me on the ground safely.

I had done it! A fully planned flight to there and back with no one there but me to handle it. It certainly felt quite different to be alone in the plane for that amount of time, and I was scanning the instruments and gauges and sounds of the aircraft for even the slightest issue. Landings were a bit more floaty without the weight of another person in the plane.

Will was happy that I had done it and has cleared me to do my next cross country, to Jackson, a Class D field rather than the uncontrolled field at Bad Axe.

That's 160 nautical miles, 1.9 hours and an excellent solo cross country in the books.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Detroit's Expensive M1 Rail To Nowhere Gets A Quixotic New Name

With much fanfare the 3.3 mile, $137-million-dollar-to-build streetcar on Woodward in downtown Detroit has just received a new name.

It's neither a catchy nor inspiring name, but more of a "named after our sponsor" sorta thing, and many aren't particularly thrilled with it, particularly those of the bien-pensant progressive class of Detroit:

The Detroit Free Press: QLINE could have been named with nod toward better transit

Mind you, for truth in advertising, and to fully link it to Detroit, all they had to do was add one letter that would sum up Detroit nicely and just call it the: DQLINE.

Flying Lesson #44 - Friday Flyby

Today the weather promised low ceilings but otherwise smooth and cold air. I hadn't flown in a while due to being out of town

The cabin heater on N73455 was not working today at all.

This was a pre-solo cross-country with Will to that glamorous cross-country location, Bad Axe.

Will announced I was doing everything and he was going to act as a passenger.

So I did a good preflight, and everything looked good, if cold. The engine needed some extra shots of primer to start and then started with authority.

I got good taxi and takeoff clearances and it was off to the north we went, holding some right aileron due to a crosswind on takeoff.

Another plane was taking off from 27L so since I had approval for a right turn, after I took off and got some altitude, I began a gentle turn to the right to get on course and increase separation from the departing aircraft, and Will stated that was good initiative on my part.

On course to KBAX, we had a headwind and the overcast layer was at about 3,000 and it kept on descending the farther north we got.

I passed over Lapeer airport and later passed by Marlette off to the right. We kept on having to go lower to stay out of the clouds. I mentioned to Will that if it had just been me flying I would do a 180 and head out as it was starting to get a bit low for my tastes and he said that would be the right call on my part, but since he was there I could press on as it was still within legal and safe limits.

There was then a nice opening right over Bad Axe which was nice. Getting the wind from the AWOS, I selected Runway 35 for landing which was also the correct choice.

I made a radio call to Bad Axe on the CTAF and a nice lady on the ground working at the airport answered that we should watch out as the runways were icy and there were a number of birds on the runways.

So warned, I made a teardrop entry into the downwind for Runway 35 and did a nice landing there and started the return flight to KPTK. Will noted the landing was a bit flat-ish but otherwise ok.

The cloud layer was quite low so we were at about 2,300 feet for the way back and interestingly enough we had no tailwind at all, which sucked after losing time and speed to a headwind on the way up. By this time we were both quite cold - you could see our breath when we talked as the cabin heat was not functional at all.

Passing by Lapeer, I saw a Piper Cherokee takeoff and head north, so it was not a factor and was the only other plane I had seen after clearing KPTK's airspace the whole time.

At 12 miles from KPTK I radioed the tower that we were inbound and got an instruction to call back when I was on a 2 mile base for runway 27R.

At 3 miles tower contacted me and said I was cleared to land and not bother with the 2 mile notification.

I then brought it in on a nice approach, keeping right aileron in for the 11 knot crosswind and made a perfect smooth landing that impressed Will quite nicely. Will noted I did a good job of holding altitude and course during the flight and made a decent and a good landing.

Assuming good weather tomorrow with a higher cloud base, I'm going to be endorsed for the solo cross country and will do one.

160 nautical miles, 1.9 hours and an excellent cross country in the books.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Obama Apology Tour Continues Apace

Our President continues his rather shameless abasement tour, traveling the world on the taxpayer's dime and busily and embarrassingly apologizing for all non-leftist activity undertaken by the USA while hanging out and doing the wave with left-wing human rights abusers.

Recently Cuba.

Now, Argentina.

The Detroit News: Obama: U.S. slow to speak out for rights in Argentina

Obama went on to apologize on behalf of the US, for the US failing, in the late 70s, to criticize a right-wing regime in Argentina fighting a communist insurgency with lots of atrocities on both sides and resulting in the defeat of the Communists in Argentina.

Is there any anti-American regime he has yet to abase himself before and issue an apology in America's name?

What's next, traveling to Russia and apologizing for winning the Cold War?

We'll note he's conspicuously failed to criticize current and past left-wing regimes on human rights even as he scrapes and bows low before them now.

The First Rule of Michigan Politics: Always Reinforce Failure

The Detroit News: Mich. Senate OKs emergency aid for DPS

After decades of Democrat domination dooming Detroit's educational domain, it's again up to the grown ups, namely the Republicans at the state level to again bail out the system using state-wide taxpayer's money for their malfeasance.

This $47 million is just the tip of the iceberg for the Detroit education system bailout - think hundreds of millions being stripped from functioning non-Detroit school systems around the state to bail out the over $715 million in debt dysfunctional Detroit system.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Jett Becoming A Gourmet Of The Classics

Jett decided he had a hunger for knowledge yesterday.

He decided to eat the spine off the hardcover of the complete works of Shakespeare.

Hark! What light through yonder book spine breaks? Tis my teeth.

He knew he had done wrong. He was hesitating to even appear in the room where he left the evidence of his devouring the prose of the bard before I even saw the evidence of his foul and unnatural murder of the Scottish play.

I can tell you that there was much ado about nothing once the remains of the tome was found.

I guess he thought As You Like it was an invitation to chew it over so he could digest the finest in English literature.

Now he's barking in iambic pentameter. . . .

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

No, They Just Don't Learn

At the same time the headline in the Detroit News reads IS claims responsibility for deadly terrorist attack (changed now to this link: Islamic State says it set off deadly bombs in Brussels. With the link now going to a story that reads Local cops: Security ramped up after Belgium attacks reflecting heightened security in Detroit due to the threat of terrorist attacks, and with over 20 people are now dead in Belgium after a series of terrorist attacks by the enemy-that-shall-not-be-named, we have the following editorial that ran right underneath the story:

The Detroit News: Our Editorial: Keep door open to refugees

They certainly didn't read the text of their own story about local security:

Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, warned Congress last month that Islamic State extremists posing as refugees “will probably attempt to ... direct attacks on the U.S. homeland in 2016.”

In testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee last week, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said accepting Syrian refugees escaping their country’s civil war could pose a security threat, adding that security has been stepped up.

And they're not just advocating for just any refugees, but the very same refugees that are claimed by ISIS, the perpetrator of the Belgium attacks, to have terrorist infiltrators among them.

The lack of self-awareness on the parts of the editors regarding risk management, reality, and even on what is reported in their own paper at the same time as their editorial is rather staggering.

Meeting A New Orleans Living Legend

On Sunday, Murph and I in between unpacking made our way to Kajun's Pub. Since he was down quite a bit in the mobility department, a pause that refreshes with some good Abita beer was called for.

The owner of the pub happened to be there, JoAnn Guidos, along with her partner and a few other bar patrons. Murph knew about her and asked if she was in. JoAnn (formerly John) is featured in the book Nine Lives: Mystery, Magic, Death, and Life in New Orleans. There's apparently going to be a Broadway musical of the story, and already there's a song written about her.

Having been through the 1965 Hurricane Betsy and all thereafter while keeping her bar going through Katrina she had quite a tale to tell.

During Katrina, she, due to some smart planning, kept the bar operating with power from generators and protecting her property with a shotgun and a .38 revolver. She acted as a center of the neighborhood keeping food for neighbors and making it a place people could come to, and lots of people did including the media and police during their travels down St. Claude Ave. She kept the looters and no-goodniks away.

That is until some US Marshalls confiscated her guns from her at gunpoint, and she still has not received them back to this day. Basically, the action was to force decent citizens who had been hanging in their on their own to evacuate after they were made defenseless by the authorities against the no-goodniks.

A darn interesting person and quite a powerful story to tell. Not a bad way to have spent some time in New Orleans, sipping some beer and listening to a riveting tale well told.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Jett And The Cat -- Oh That's Not A Cat!!!!

I had just stepped out the door tonight to take Jett on his evening walk, resuming my normal schedule of activities at home on my return.

We started down the driveway and he immediately started heading to my neighbors front lawn.

I saw a small white animal there and figured it was a kitten, a few of which wander around the neighborhood.

Jett seemed rather interested and as he got closer, the kitten with its face towards Jett raised a rather large feathery white tail.

Wait a minute, that's not normal kitten behavior.

I quickly reached in my pocket and pulled out my trusty flashlight and shine it at the cat.

Nope, it's not a cat.

Yep, as I quickly surmised and as you just guessed, it was a skunk. The black rest of him/her was hidden by the night and the white stripe went all the way from tail to his/her head making it appear thinner than it actually was, and the face being white had thrown me off, but under the light the remainder in black gave no doubt as to what Jett had just met.

I believe I yelled something like "Oh Hell no, HEEL!" and Jett came racing back to me, which was good.

Interestingly enough the skunk did not run away, nor did it turn around. Instead it started happily advancing on us with tail still raised but with the odious orifice pointed eastbound as it proceeded westbound towards us.

To say we beat a very hasty retreat would be an understatement.

The skunk then disappeared off into the night to do whatever skunks do during their nocturnal sojourns without spraying man nor beast.


Home Again

A very pleasant flight back.

Made nicer due to it being an older Spirit airbus with actual seats and a decent seat pitch rather than the latest ones that have seats of single sheets of aluminum with a thin covering and a seat pitch that has your legs folded under themselves the entire flight.

I have a pressing desire to reorganize and clean up the house and get rid of all sorts of junk. Being surrounded by boxes full of stuff for days will do that to you.

Tired and sore, but home with the finest kids and wife a man could ask for, not to mention a fine dog.

There's no place like home indeed.

Last Morning In The Big Easy

Operation Move Murph N Mutts is coming to a close. Basics are unpacked, Stuff that needs to be secure is secure and the dogs are settling into their new home.

Before I departed I had to go to Cafe Du Monde for some beignets and coffee.

They were rather good indeed.

Then we went to the river and I took a couple obligatory tourist pics.

Then I walked with Murph to his new job, wished him luck, and then I went to the airport shuttle pickup point and I'm heading to the airport now. 

This was quite the journey. Thousands of miles and thousands of pounds loaded and unloaded. Looking forward to getting home.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

N'Orleans Crawfish

In between bouts of unpacking there's opportunities to sample the local cuisine.

Today: Crawfish boil.

Looks pretty good, tastes better and it takes effort to eat and is a fun experience. 4lbs of crawfish were gone real fast.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Operation MMNM - The Unpackening

The trailer is now empty and I'm now tired.

Ammo and rifles are cunningly hidden in closets as movers arrived right as we got the last stuff out.

Now, will the house sink into the swamp with the added weight of all this ammo? Or will it stay?  

He doesn't have huge tracts o' land, but it's a nice house indeed and should serve him well.

Now to help direct the movers and get more stuff unpacked.

Didn't believe me about the chickens in the last post?

Feral New Orleans G. Gallus domesticus.

Operation MMNM: New Home, Old Tricks

Time from arrival last night to first Belle escape from the backyard: 35 seconds. 

Time this morning from release to the yard to Murphy escaping and chasing a chicken (yes there apparently are chickens running around loose in New Orleans): 10 seconds.

 Little flaw in the yard fence enclosure plan- pathway from yard under house to open world is wide open. Belle found that and ran under the house to the front where I was unloading in record time. That will need to be fixed right quick.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Louisiana: The Murphy and Mutts Have Landed

Safe and at his new place. 

Now the fun with unpacking begins.

Operation MMNM - Louisiana

Just made it to the Louisiana border.

Thunderstorms, driving rain, howling beasts in the back, nothing can stop us.

Under 40 miles to go to get Murph n Mutts to their new home.

Atlanta Operation MMNM Hits A Slow Spot

And we're stuck in traffic in Atlanta. Murph (the man) is going out of his mind. So is Murphy the dog for that matter.

We were delayed in north Georgia due to having to find a place that could print and fax, and finding one was not easy. This was due to some last minute real estate issues that had to be dealt with ASAP.

So now we are all sorts of stuck in Atlanta's stop n go traffic, mainly stop and less go.

The dogs are crying, Murph is losing it and other than that we can look forward to unloading thousands of pounds of stuff in the dark. Yipee.

Departing NC Off To NOLA

A great night with a most gracious host.

Keads made us feel very welcome and put on quite the spread for us.

Now we're about to head out.

Keads helping add air to the trailer tires, as they surely need some.

We're all loaded up and ready to head out. New Orleans here we come and the chance of Murph having yet another tantrum in traffic is assured.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Arrived Safe In NC

We've arrived safe at our most gracious host here in North Carolina.

Not a bad trip, and yes the trailer did actually make it all this way.

We met up with Keads with no problems and had some fun I'll blog about later.  Now it's time for some food.

Up early tomorrow to head to New Orleans.

Operation MMNM Departing

Watching Murph pack is rather entertaining, shoving in last minute stuff into the trailer willy-nilly.

Dogs are ready to go big time.

Finally all is loaded and we're about to go.

Happy Birthday To The Best

Today is Natasha's birthday, and I'm off in the wilds of West Virginia helping Murph move.

That she's permitted this shows yet again why she's the finest woman and wife I could ask for. Not to mention she puts up with me which is worthy of an award all by itself.

Happy Birthday darling, and thanks for being as wonderful as you are, and I look forward to spending a lot more birthdays in the future with you.

Operation MMNM Day 2

The trailer currently looks like this:

All I have to say is that without the massive help from Stretch with moving the ammo, and Proud Hillbilie loading rifles (the ones subsequently lost in the inevitable kayak accident when Murph demanded going down the Mississippi to get to New Orleans), it could not have been done.  Bruce, Rebecca, and Murphy's neighbor the other Aaron also came to help load and were an immeasurable help. 

After loading we did some touch up painting around the Lair.

Amazingly there's still stuff that needs to be loaded before we go.  Will it all fit? Will the trailer actually move with all this stuff in it? Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Operation MMNM - Ammo Loaded

Ammo is now in the trailer and vehicle. That was some heavy stuff to haul downstairs and into the trailer.

I've finished bringing all of the rifles down for preloading and they're going in next. 

The junk on a bunk display would be epic.

Staring to load the rifles now.

Upstairs, Downstairs, Upstairs....

It's Day One of Operation Move Murph N Mutts - The Loadening

Murph is off getting the trailer and doing some last minute stuff about town.

I'm moving the armory. From the top floor to the basement to position it for loading in the trailer when it arrives.

I half expect it to not all fit.

Lugging boxes and wrapped rifles and crates of ammo down stairs and repeating ad infinitum sure counts as a workout. 

Hmm, this one weighs quite a bit, must be a's one with a bolt and an Enfield outline...

You can never have too many guns or too much ammo except when you're moving.

 I have not yet had coffee as there's none to be found in the house. That's a serious workplace violation I tell you. This could get serious.

The stairclimbing continues.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Arrived At Lagniappe's Lair

Good flight to DC. Delta had a nice regional jet and it was a very smooth flight indeed.

So I'm officially here and Operation Move Murphy n' Mutts is underway.

Another Of The Greats Are Gone

Sadly, I just heard the news that Todd Louis Green has died from cancer. I was hoping that it was just a stupid pre-April fools joke, but it's for real.

Todd was one heckuva great firearms instructor and a really good guy.  His professionalism, teaching ability and all-around good nature will be badly missed.

RIP Todd, and thanks for all the wisdom and knowledge you've passed on to all your students and I wish you had longer with us to teach us more. We're all the lesser for your passing.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Destination NOLA By Way Of WV

Since Op Sec on Operation Move Murph N' Mutts has been formally blown, I can finally comment on it here.

Yes, I will be heading to WV to help him get to New Orleans on time. Prayers are appreciated in advance.

Mainly I'm there to keep him on course and get him back on track every time he says "Hey look, squirrel!". Otherwise, we're going to end up hitting every museum, historical site, and dive bar on the way down. Not that that is bad mind you, but he needs to get there on time. Oh, yeah I'm helping to pack and unpack as well.

Thankfully, we will be staying at a secure and gracious location on the way down. Friends are good to have.

Yes, I will bring my infernal naviguessing device to make sure we get there. My bet is he's forgotten to put the maps in the vehicle so we're going to rely on tech to the routing rescue.

I'm currently trying to slam a week of work into two days so I can make this happen, so it's a little hectic right now.

Expect updates on the progress of Operation Move Murph N' Mutts as we go.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Flying Lesson #43 - Spring Is In The Air

What a difference a few days make.

No more scrapping the snow and ice off the plane or being cold while doing the preflight.

Today I had planned a dual cross-country to Jackson KJXN.

I would be flying with Will in 755PR. I hadn't flown in PR in awhile and it does handle differently from N73455 and 757MK - the controls are a lot stiffer, and the Radios are setup kinda weird in that aircraft, with COM 1 not being able to send at the moment. Then again, it's a plane so I can fly it.

So I got to the field a bit early, did the preflight, got everything setup and called for a weather brief. The briefer was very friendly and helpful and gave lots of good info. In short, it would be a very pleasant flight with generally calm to low winds, great visibility, and no issues or TFRs to get in the way.

Will arrived and said we would fly my plan to Jackson by pilotage but then extend over to Marshall by use of the plane's GPS and then back to Pontiac. He was pretty impressed that I had taken the initiative to get a weather brief and was fully ready to go as soon as he arrived.

So I started 755PR up and happily the engine immediately caught which is a treat for this aircraft. Then I called for taxi clearance. I then played musical clearances as Ground kept giving a clearance to taxi to 73455 which had already left a few minutes before us and I can't go moving around an airport and crossing runways without an actual clearance matching my tail number. We got that sorted out and we were off.

KPTK was already getting pretty busy, and we had to extend our outbound leg on the runway heading until we had exited KPTK's Class D airspace instead of turning on course after takeoff. No big deal.

Then I got us to Jackson, flying at 4,500 feet and contacted their tower and got a landing clearance I haven't heard before: "Straight in for Runway 24, report when over the prison".

So over the prison I went, reported y position, and did a nice straight in approach and landing. Jacksin has a nice big prison on the flight path. Jackson was also pretty busy with a few planes in the pattern, a few coming in, including one dipstick who was inbound in a Cessna but never identified his tail number in his transmission which had the tower getting annoyed with him.

We then taxied on back to takeoff and headed to Marshall. Jackson tower asked if we wanted flight following and Will said I might as well do it for the experience. He got us a takeoff clearance and then hoked us up with flight following in the air with Lansing. Very short hop to Marshall so we had a squawk code for a bit and some helpful traffic advisories as it seemed everyone was out flying today with the first hint of spring.

I quickly arrived at Marshall and there was no activity. Meanwhile the CTAF was almost unusable as everyone on the frequency from a variety of airports was stepping on each other like idiots. They really need to separate the CTAF frequencies a bit more as the sheer amount of useless info from airfields way outside the area of flight was crazy.

So I overflew the airport, noted the lack of traffic and did a teardrop entry into the downwind, trying to get a radio call in edgewise with all the cross-talk just to follow proper procedure and just in case someone was also out there and about to land on Runway 28.

On the first approach I told Will I was going to do a go-round, and then I did a go-round as I had been a bit too tight on the downwind and had lost the field in the base turn so the final approach was overshot as a result. Will was happy that I would do a go-round and not try to force it in and thought I showed good judgment in doing so. On the next pattern I then landed very nicely.

Then we headed back to KPTK which was crazy busy.

Per Will's suggestion, I angled in my approach path so that at 12 miles out we would be in from the northwest to make the Tower's life a bit easier so they could put us on 27R, which would also make our life easier for taxing back after landing.

Tower had us fly a close downwind then instructed us do an expedited close base and land.

So we basically did a power-off 180 from the downwind onto the runway and Will said I did a nice job of it.

Will is going to be signing me off for solo cross-country, so the next stage of fun will begin shortly. Unfortunately, Thursday night's night flight was cancelled due to weather, so I have to wait to get a start on my night flying experience.

That's 2.3 hours and 3 full-stop landings in the book, and a great cross-country flight done.

To Life! Holocaust Survivor Is World's Oldest Man

Simply amazing, Israel Kristal has lived and persevered through some of the most inhumane conditions known to man, suffered unspeakable losses, experienced all that history, and has still go on into a ripe old age with his faculties intact.

The Detroit News: Israel Holocaust survivor, 112, world’s oldest man

Guinness World Records says a 112-year-old Israeli who lived through both World Wars and survived the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz is the world’s oldest man.

Guinness awarded Israel Kristal a certificate at his home in Haifa on Friday.

Congrats to Mr. Kristal, and as the saying goes, "May he live to be 120!". Adjusted for his lifespan, in his case it should probably be may he live to be 140!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Getting Gas In Detroit? Still Not A Good Idea

Oakland County Exec Brooks Patterson's warning to not stop for gas in Detroit keeps getting proven true time and time again.

The Detroit News: Suspect sought in Detroit gas station shooting

Note that this time the shooting took place during the daytime, at 2 pm.

Whether it was a crime of opportunity given that its a pretty high-crime area and the victim's gold necklace was stolen, or from an ongoing dispute is not explained.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Kent County Michigan Cops Shoot The Bull

In this case they shot the bull quite literally and repeatedly.

The Detroit Free Press: Police fire 33 rounds to stop bull that killed farmer

After a bull mortally injured its owner, it had to be dispatched so they could try to recover the man.

The deputies fired 33 rounds with their cruiser rifles, striking the animal each time — it eventually dropped to the ground.

Assuming those cruiser rifles were AR15s, it looks like enough rounds of 5.56 will indeed eventually stop a raging bull.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Some Light Civic Duty Done

Just got back from voting after work. Michigan had its primary today for this year's Presidential Race and Clown Show.

Not a huge turnout nor long lines at the precinct, and rather well organized if a bit slow to process people through.

Interestingly enough there were more Republican ballots (about 1600) being used than Democrats (about 1080 based on the ballot stub numbers) and this in quite a Democrat area.

It'll be interesting to see how many of those were cross-overs bent on playing in the Republican primary or if e really did get a larger Republican-leaning turnout.

Hopefully my guy wins, and now we'll wait and see what the results will be.

Monday, March 07, 2016

CAIR: He's Such a Good Yet Misunderstood Lad, So Let's Ignore All Those Terrorist Threats, Ok?

Yet another local jihadee-wannabee makes the news in the Detroit/Dearborn area, and CAIR is in full cover-up mode.

The Detroit News: Jihadist or FBI victim? Dearborn case stirs debate

It seems that Khalil Abu-Rayyan in addition to posting pro-ISIS stuff on social media and proclaiming his desire to kill people and illegally carryign a concealed weapon was just a poor misunderstood mrijuana user who couldn't find romance.

Yet Abu-Rayyan’s defense lawyer says his client is no terrorist. Rather, he is a socially awkward pizzeria worker who lives with his parents, smokes marijuana and has no romantic experience with women.

Abu-Rayyan was bragging of jihad and martyrdom to impress a woman, who turned out to be an undercover agent, his lawyer says, adding that black Heritage .22- caliber revolver he was caught carrying illegally is recommended for Boy Scout target shooting, not acts of terrorism.

And he never carried out any of the violent acts he vowed to commit.

Well good on the FBI for not waiting until he did, right?

In addition to illegal CCW, they also have him dead to rights on falsifying a 4473, which in this case is a slam dunk conviction if there ever was one:

Evidence against him includes Abu-Rayyan’s own admissions to police that he used marijuana and an ATF form 4473 that asks: “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?” Abu-Rayyan checked “no” and signed the form before he purchased the .22.

So CAIR of course thinks this fellow, who has made multiple threats of violence including, per the article, threatening to kill a police officer and burn people alive, should have been handled as a social services issue:

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on Islamic Relations, said he has been monitoring the court case and has spoken to Abu-Rayyan’s family.

“It is evident to me in speaking to the family that the young man has substance abuse issues and rather than take the route of intervention and social services, they (the government) instead used a young lady as a means of trying to get him to do something,” Walid said.

This is an unfortunate pattern of the FBI, Walid said, when it comes to investigating a person making threats of terrorism.

Let's see, substance abuse, troubles with romance, member of the ISIS fan club, and a basic loser with dreams of grandeur and delusions of adequacy certainly checks an awful lot of the boxes for a likely terrorist "known wolf" profile, now doesn't it?

Good on the FBI for interdicting this loser before he carried out his threats and fantasies.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Ben Carson Bows Out

Dr. Ben Carson did both the smart and honorable thing by bowing out of the race (or is it a clown show? Frankly this year I'm not sure which) for President.

While Ben Carson is a very smart, if not in fact brilliant man, he lacked any political experience, and a lack of national name recognition whatsoever before throwing his hat in the ring and running for President. Some political experience and seasoning is badly needed and there is a chance that he can get some.

There's an effort to draft him to run for Senator in Michigan. From Right MI.

Considering the Michigan Republicans have been running completely lackluster candidates and campaigns for the Michigan US Senate seats since Spencer Abraham was senator in 2001 and haven't had a Republican senator since, we certainty wouldn't do any worse if Dr. Carson ran. He has a chance to peel off some of the solid blue Detroit electorate with his rather compelling story and oratory, not to mention his roots in Detroit.

I would happily endorse an effort for Dr. Carson to run for this year's contested US Senate seat for Michigan.

We certainly could put up worse candidates for the seat, and probably will.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Flying Lesson #42 - The Long Cool Complex Cross Country

Today was a perfect morning for the long dual cross country. The route: KPTK to KBAX to Y31 to KPTK. At each airport we would make a full stop landing.

Why complex? Well, N73455 was in the shop for its hundred hour inspection, so I got to log some complex time in the Cessna Cutlass C-172RG.

This time after the preflight and chipping all the ice off the wings, I got to adjust the constant speed propeller, raise and lower the gear and everything under Will's supervision.

Flying up to Bad Axe was beautiful. Wind calm and some nice clouds above and at 6,500 feet you had excellent visibility.

You know you're near Bad Axe when you can see the windmill farms.

We landed on Runway 17 at Bad Axe, taxied back and then took off.

From Bad Axe, we flew over Saginaw Bay at 6,500 feet to Y31, West Branch airport. The bay was nice and iced over.

We crossed the bay and then landed at West Branch with no problems, and again did a back taxi, this time on Runway 9.

Here's the view of West Branch Airport's hangers from the Alpha taxiway by runway 9. It's a small airport and was a nice spot to land.

On the way back from West Branch the overcast layer had lowered so instead of flying at 5,500 we flew at 3,500. We passed by Bay City.

Hey, What's that down there at the docks by Bay City?

It's the USS Edson, DD-946, a Forrest Sherman class destroyer. One of the ships of DESRON 23, the Famed Squadron first named "The Little Beavers" in World War 2. The ship has an honorable history with service in the Vietnam War. USS Edson was the last all-gun destroyer in the US Navy. Now a museum ship, I'm going to need to go visit her more closely someday soon. Neat the stuff you can see from above.

3.0 hours and 3 landings and a total of 261 nautical miles for a great long cross country flight.

Here's a recording of the flight route from Foreflight: