Sunday, December 08, 2019

A Hero of Entebbe - Meeting Sassy Reuven

Last night I went to a presentation at Chabad House given by Sassy Reuven.

Who is Sassy Reuven you ask? One of the leaders that took part in the hostage rescue at Entebbe Uganda on July 4, 1976.

One of the most successful, and certainly one of the farthest ranged, hostage rescues in history, The Entebbe Raid was a major historical event and one of the turning points in fighting terrorism and aircraft hijackings.

An Air France Plane, set to fly from Tel Aviv to Paris with a stop in Athens Greece was hijacked by 2 Arab and 2 German Red Army Faction terrorists who were able to get weapons including handguns, grenades, and explosive by bribing Greek airport security.

The plane was first diverted to Libya and then flown to Uganda where the terrorists were joined by 3 more Arab terrorists and protected by the Ugandan army as the president of Uganda Idi Amin, had become very close to the terrorists after he broke off relations with Israel, after Israel had refused to give him fighter jets to attack Tanzania.

The non-Jewish passengers were released, but the Captain, Michel Bacos and crew of the Air France jet insisted on remaining with the Jewish hostages and not leaving any of their passengers behind. 94 Jewish passengers and 12 crew remained.

The terrorists were demanding $5 Million dollars and the release of terrorists held by Israel, France, and other countries.

The Israelis were able to formulate a plan to rescue the hostages and put it into action. Flying 2,400 miles from Israel, through hostile airspace they would land at the airport and rescue the hostages. To increase the deception, the first Hercules would be loaded with a Black Mercedes and two land rovers to look like Idi Amin's entourage as he had frequently visited the airport during the hostage situation.

4 C-130 Hercules with two carrying troops, a third with refueling equipment and the fourth setup as a hospital, and two Boeing 707s, one setup as a Command Center and the other as another hospital aircraft accompanies the formation. Flying at 30 feet above the Red Sea, they remained under Saudi and Egyptian radars, and once passing the Red Sea and the radars then climbed to 20,000 feet for the flight to Uganda.

Landing at 7 minute increments, the C-130s landed at the airport.

Sassy was in the first C-130 Hercules to land at Entebbe and the second man to touch the ground in Uganda, following Nehemiah Tamari, the commander of the paratrooper ground force towards the New Terminal. The job of his section of the paratroops' was to secure the New Terminal building as Sayaret Matkal freed the hostages in the Old Terminal. Other sections were to secure the runway, setup runway lights, and another Sayaret Matkal detachment would destroy the MiG-17 and MiG-1 fighters based at the airport to ensure the Ugandan Air Force could not engage the Israelis once they had left the airport.

The paratroopers secured the new terminal, having one man seriously wounded.

At the Old Terminal, the leader of the ground force, Yonatan Netanyahu, brother of Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu was killed, shot by Ugandan army soldiers shooting from the control tower.

The mission was a success however with all but 4 of the hostages rescued. 3 Of the hostages were killed during the rescue operation, and the fourth, 74 year-old Dora Bloch, who had been taken to a hospital in Kampala and was not at the airport during the raid, was killed days later on Idi Amins orders. All 7 terrorists were killed along with 45-50 Ugandan soldiers.

The entire operation on the ground lasted 53 minutes and the assault on the terminals lasted only 30 minutes.

Later immortalized in the Israeli movie Operation Thunderbolt and then in the the quite good Raid on Entebbe and then completely messed up by Hollywood in the recent 2018 film 7 Days In Entebbe that did its best to take the terrorist's point of view in the affair and turned an amazing historic hostage rescue it into a rather dull politically-correct bit of nonsense.

Meeting one of the heroes from the Entebbe hostage rescue mission was pretty impressive. Sassy Reuven was a very engaging speaker and gave a great talk combining facts humor and history into a riveting presentation. He spoke on both his and Israel's and Uganda's background before the hijacking, the hijacking itself, and then the planning and execution of the raid.

He's touring around the US speaking about the Entebbe hostage rescue, so if you get a chance to listen to him in person, it's well worth it.

Saturday, December 07, 2019

A Day That Will Live In Driving Test Infamy

Abby had her driving test today.

Wish I had some happy news to reportas she is a quite capable driver, but she didn't make it out of the parking lot.

As reported to me by her and Tash who was there, the testing arrangement stank to high heaven and was not a reflection of reality at all.

First, the examiner had lost her voice and was hard to hear.

So examiner is outside the car, has Abby first start the car and then drive forward, stop where she indicates and then has to back into a spot with small cones bordering it, followed immediately by pulling out and parallel parking at a very weird angle.

Not something you would ever do in real life, and Tash notes the angles were strange, you would not try to back into the spot indicated from that starting position in real life, the cone spots don't match up to the angles for the actual striped parking spots, and the cones very low and hard to see. You also wouldn't immediately try and parallel park from that angle either.

Oh, and you have to do both maneuvers with a total, of 6 wheel movements.

Not reflective of actual driving at all, kinda designed for failure.

I daresay even Murphy's Law or Keads would've had a bit of trouble pulling that off within those parameters, especially when not driving the samll driving test car for the test.

So the examiner fails her on that, but cheerfully notes that she should come back and take a lesson with them for the parking section so she can see how its done at those angles and then take the test right after and oh, she may want to rent their car for the test which is smaller and has a backup camera.

See where this is going?

In other words, administering the driving test is $60, failing her and then "suggesting" a lesson and then another test would net them another $120 so its kinda in their interest to fail them out with this BS setup and collect $180 plus more with the test car rental rather than pass her and only make $60.

Yep, this stinks on ice. She's not happy as she didn't get to demonstrate how well she actually drives nor how she can actually park but instead got hosed inn a made up cone land in a parking lot at an off angle.

We'll have to see if other testing centers are similarly setup or if we have to play the game and pay up in order for her to pass, though I daresay simply requesting a bribe form us of $180 to pass the parking portion of the test would have been both more economically efficient and far more above board than this baloney.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Treat All Firearms As If Loaded, Part The Umpteenth, Now With Lying To Your Prospective Attorney

Get a call from a prospective client, whop as it turns out is facing a Reckless, wanton use or negligent discharge of a firearm charge.

This is a misdemeanor and depending on what he did exactly is either up to 90 days or up to a year in jail and a decent fine of between $100-$500 attached.

His story starts with:

"My gun was defective, I dropped it and it went off in my garage."

He then went on to embellish it that he thought it was unloaded - yep yet again, thought being the operative word.

Then he went on to state the slide was stuck shut and he was going to take it to a gunsmith to work on it when he dropped it on the garage floor and it went off.

He then called the police on himself and then made a very full detailed statement to the police and then was charged. Apparently the round went through his garage and put a hole in his neighbor's garage so depending on the damage done the fine and potential jail time can differ.

Asking some questions about the event, he first can't remember even the model of the handgun in question, and he finally states it was a Ruger.

Anyone at this point want to guess where this is going?

Asking even more questions regarding the event and discussing the importance of accurate information in order to defend him from the charge, he starts hemming and hawing on the circumstances.

Then he finally states:

"Ok, it didn't actually fall and go off, I had pulled the trigger but I was sure it was empty and the slide was stuck so I couldn't check".

Yes, you may do a facepalm at this moment, I sure did on hearing it.

Look folks, lying to an attorney who will try to defend you from criminal charges is just not a good idea. It makes your defense that much harder and we're on your side. We'd rather have the truth and deal with it than try to defend you on a false premise you fed us that then blows up in your face in court.

Please do not lie to your attorney. The freedom you save may be your own.

After talking I explain what will likely happen process-wise and my need for a retainer (actually a ridiculously low one for this type of case but anyways), and he states he's going to try and handle it himself.

Good luck with that. I can guarantee the prosecutor will lose all sympathy with the guy once he starts lying, and if he rejects a deal and tries to defend himself in court the prosecutor will have him for lunch, and the jury will see right through it as he doesn't lie well, at all.

Once again, please don't lie to the attorney you want to retain to protect your rights. It doesn't help.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

No Surprise Here - Killer Of Detroit Cop Is A Felon Out On Parole

The scum that shot two Detroit Police officers, killing one and wounding the other was no stranger to law enforcement.

The Detroit Free Press: 28-year-old man charged with murder in fatal shooting of Detroit police officer

As one might suspect, the felon is no stranger to the penal system.

In 2009 he was convicted of breaking and entering and did less than a year of a three year sentence.

Then in 2011 he was hit with felon in possession of a firearm and a count of felony firearms.

He was also hit with Assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, likely with the firearm he was illegally in possession of, but was paroled in March of this year, a couple years short of his maximum sentence.

Not learning from any of these experiences, and strangely completely ignoring that he was on parole and not allowed as a felon to posses firearms, he was apparently on quite a crime spree before police met up with him in a home he had broken into on November 20 and he shot the officers from ambush.

Yet another multiple-count felon allowed to go free until he kills someone.

He killed Officer Rasheen McClain, a 46-year-old, 16-year veteran officer, leaving a wife and two children.

Treat All Firearms As If Loaded, Part The Umpteenth

You may think its unloaded, but thinking does not make it reality. Then going on and pointing said "unloaded" gun at another person and pulling the trigger leads to tragedy.

The Detroit Free Press: Deputies: Off-duty Detroit police officer shoots girlfriend in Lyon Township

Basically the officer, while demonstrating firearm safety and how to safely handle a firearm to his girlfriend managed to shoot her with an "unloaded" gun. The girlfriend does verify his story and also believed it was unloaded.

This safety demo ended with her taking a thankfully survivable round to the chest.

From the article, it sounds like either he forgot the one up the pipe or racked to clear it with the magazine still inserted and then dropped the magazine, inadvertently loading it before carrying on with his demonstration.

Again, making sure a firearm is unloaded before demonstrating with it is vital.

Since people clearly are fallible when it comes to making sure the firearm is unloaded, it is even better use a blue or SIRT gun in demonstrations or at least to insert a trainer or training barrel into the gun if you have to show how to manipulate it and prevent it from being shot.

In short there's a whole lot of inexpensive, and useful tools out there to completely avoid these kinds of negligent accidents.

Monday, December 02, 2019

"The problem with internet quotes is that you can't always depend on their accuracy" ~Abraham Lincoln, 1864.

Basically if there's an appeal to authority with a quote that sounds too good to be true about a current day event, chances are, it is in fact fake.

A lefty I know published with approval this image on the Book of Face this morning:

Looks like the wise Jefferson is wisely foretelling the rise of the uncouth and media criticism of that Orange Man Bad Trump, and Orange Man is bad for acting contrary to the wise statement of Jefferson, now doesn't it?

The problem, of course, is that Jefferson never said nor wrote it, and the quote first seems to have popped up in February 2017, 191 years after Jefferson died. Would be a neat trick if he could have pulled that off.

In fact, Jefferson was rather Trumpian in his criticism of the press of his day:

"I deplore... the putrid state into which our newspapers have passed and the malignity, the vulgarity, and mendacious spirit of those who write for them... These ordures are rapidly depraving the public taste and lessening its relish for sound food. As vehicles of information and a curb on our funtionaries, they have rendered themselves useless by forfeiting all title to belief... This has, in a great degree, been produced by the violence and malignity of party spirit." --Thomas Jefferson to Walter Jones, 1814. ME 14:46

"Our printers raven on the agonies of their victims, as wolves do on the blood of the lamb." --Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, 1811. ME 13:59

"From forty years' experience of the wretched guess-work of the newspapers of what is not done in open daylight, and of their falsehood even as to that, I rarely think them worth reading, and almost never worth notice." --Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, 1816. ME 14:430

"Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. The real extent of this state of misinformation is known only to those who are in situations to confront facts within their knowledge with the lies of the day." --Thomas Jefferson to John Norvell, 1807. ME 11:224

"As for what is not true, you will always find abundance in the newspapers." --Thomas Jefferson to Barnabas Bidwell, 1806. ME 11:118

"Advertisements... contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper." --Thomas Jefferson to Nathaniel Macon, 1819. ME 15:179

"The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood." --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807.

In other words, one might just say Jefferson called the mainstream media of his day fake news.

There's many valid reasons to criticize Trump without resorting to fake quotes, but it does make it sound better to use a fake quote by a founder of our country rather than going "Reee, Orange Man Bad".

Now, its not just the left that make up historic quotes to bolster their arguments. We have plenty of fake quotes used by those on the right side of the spectrum by Adolf Hitler, George Washington and one particular quote claimed to be from Voltaire but isn't, constantly bandied about by the right side to bolster their arguments as well.

In short, if you come upon a quote by someone considered to be a historical authority or known to be a wise person and it looks like it suits the current drama of the day to a T, it's most likely fake and worth doing a quick check to see if the person quoted actually ever said it before you repost the fakery.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

Mexico Cartel Attacks Continue To Get Closer To The US Border

The Detroit News: Death toll put at 20 after Mexico cartel attack near U.S. border

A Mexican drug cartel, the Cartel of the Northeast, attacked and shot up the city hall of Villa Union, killing some government workers, in an hour-long assault including a battle with state and federal responding forces.

In reading the article, you can see the cartels aren't exactly keeping a low profile - the convoy of trucks the attackers rode in on for their assault had C.D.N. markings very nicely applied to the sides of their trucks. Not exactly a covert action by any means.

The attack took place all of 35 miles south-southwest of Eagle Pass, Texas.

Any bets on how long it takes before these large-scale attacks spill over to the American side of the border and we need to send forth responding punitive expeditions led by a new Black Jack Pershing?

Friday, November 29, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving And A Great Ammo Deal

Classic Arms has Federal 115gr 9mm FMJ for $124/1000 after rebate and free shipping, which is one heckuva great deal If you shoot 9mm.

I hope all of you had a peaceful and enjoyable Thanksgiving with your families. We had a nice one with family and friends over to enjoy the festive meal.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Will She, Nil She? Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence Does Backflips On Impeachment

Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence (D-MI 14) my Congressional District (sigh), recently came out and said she was against impeaching Trump and instead for censure.

Apparently this didn't sit well with the Democrat powers that be, as she likely got a talking-to and she quickly back-flipped and came back out in favor of impeachment.

RedState: Michigan Democrat Makes Stunning Reversal on Impeachment, Becomes First One to Suggest Censure Instead (UPDATE: She Flips Back!)

Understand that here in Michigan, Lawrence is in a very, very, safe Democrat district comprising mainly of Detroit and some Democrat dominated districts to the northwest. For all intents and purposes it is practically impossible for a Republican to win this district as structured.

So why backing away and then the backflip?

Perhaps she realizes what everyone else following the "inquiry" has already figured out - it's damn thin gruel, based on hearsay, done with rigged procedural rules, supposition, and not a high crime nor misdemeanor to be found.

In short, it's Impeach Orange Man Bad because Orange Man Bad and because the Democrats probably can't beat him in a fair election with the current candidates they're trying to run against him so if this sham weakens him so much the better for them.

Congresswoman Lawrence tends to be quite smart so far as Democrats go, so for her to realize this impeachment proceeding would likely backfire on the Dems shows she has a decent connection to reality and knows that the public isn't buying the charade.

She just tried to pull her party back from the brink to a nice safe attack on Trump with a censure vote that they would have locked up in the House, facts be damned.

A censure vote would have been a nice easy hit, rather than continuing the inquiry and going on to having a trial in the Senate with actual evidence, witnesses, and normal procedural and evidentiary rules rather than a kangaroo court inquiry where the Dems control the entire process. It may very well end in a censure vote once the Dems complete their inquiry and realize it's not going anywhere substantively and they've milked it for all the soundbites and innuendo about the Orange Man Bad that they can.

While its a great show for their radical left base, their impeachment inquiry likely won't last long enough to be dragged out and turn into an October surprise, and most people aren't impressed with the nonsense.

Instead of listening to their Cassandra, the Dems pushed her back onto the impeachment track, hard.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

IWI Masada Rounds 751-850

Today after work I met up with the members of my Synagogue's "Sports Club" at the range.

Since the membership of the Synagogue tends to veer leftwards, we don't dare call it a shooting club, some congregants might get the vapors.

We had a good turn out tonight, actually getting a full minyan at the range.

Among those were a couple gentlemen who hadn't shot before.

I got to coach them and used the M&P Compact .22 with the silencer on it as a teaching tool.

Nice, quiet, and easy to shoot, it's a very easy way to get new shooters to learn how to shoot without really loud bangs and recoil to distract them. Big smiles resulted.

They did great and I had them try out the Masada as well. Even more smiles.

They both enjoyed it and did quite well, as the Masada is now even easier to shoot and accurately hit the target.

Since it's the Masada ORP, meaning Optics Ready Pistol, it was time to mount an Optic.

It's a Trijicon SRO and mounting it on to the Masada could not have been easier. Using the included RMR plate and screws that came with the Masada, installation was no fuss, no muss, and simple as it could be and very solid.

Shooting with the SRO is a pleasure - place dot on target location, squeeze trigger, bullet then lands on the spot marked by the dot.

100 rounds of M882 9MM Ball ammo shot with zero failures including being shot by people who have never shot a gun before.

Monday, November 25, 2019

IWI Masada Rounds 501-750

I met up with a client in Davison, about 45 minutes to the north, to talk some business and go over some things he needed, and then do some shooting yesterday. It's good to have clients that are shooting enthusiasts.

We went to Williams Gun Sight Company Range up in Davison.

Yes, Williams, the makers of some exceptional firearms sights, also has one heckuva nice store and range. Great people, amazing selection of shooting stuff, and a first class indoor and outdoor range.

Outdoors, I shot my IWI Tavor SAR, which hadn't been out for awhile. I now have a nice 100 yard zero on it. 60 rounds of 5.56 went through it without a hiccup and the trigger really is darn nice. I've been neglecting to shoot this rifle and need to remedy that, as its very enjoyable to shoot. I also got to shoot my client's SIG .308 AR with a Nightforce optic on it that was a joy to shoot - he's got some nice toys.

At the pistol range I got to try out his Beretta 92X Performance - it's quite a bit heavier than a standard 92FS, noticeably so. But it has quite the nice double action pull and in single action it is downright amazing which makes up for the weight. Its a competition rather than a carry gun so the weight is less of an issue and really sucks up just about all the recoil. He also had an STI 9mm that had perhaps the best 1911 trigger I've ever tried.

He tried the IWI Masada and remarked that it fit his hand well and did have a nice trigger. He shot quite nicely with it and rather liked it.

We proceeded to shoot a variety of ammo through the Masada - 50 rounds of Blazer 147 Grain fmj, 100 Federal 9mm NATO, and 100 of the Remington 115 grain that was indeed comparably quite hot and flashy compared to the other ammo.

The sight adjustment worked, and while it still shoots low, it is centered now.

No failures of any kind in the 250 rounds today.

Michigan's Liquor Isn't Arriving Any Quicker

And it may not arrive at all.

Expect stores in Michigan to continue to suffer alcohol shortages, right in time for the holidays.

Why? Because due to the State's mandated distribution system, when the largest liquor distributor in the state catches a cold, everyone gets pneumonia.

Basically, the distributor consolidated operations, then royally screwed up said operations, and can't seem to do their job as a result. With the way state liquor laws go, there's no way for anyone else to work around it and as a result expect stores and bars to be low on alcohol.

The Detroit News: Fear of liquor shortage sparks concerns among retailers

Logistical issues at Michigan’s largest liquor distributor have led to roughly $65 million in delayed gross sales and tax payments to the state and dwindling supplies at state liquor stores with no guarantee of a fix before Thanksgiving. ...

Michigan employs a three-tier system when it comes to liquor sales. The first tier, licensed manufacturers, sell their liquor to the state. The state, as the second-tier wholesaler, takes orders and distributes that liquor through authorized distribution agents such as Republic National Distributing Company, which warehouse and then distribute the liquor to the third tier: bars and liquor stores.

State law prohibits liquor stores from purchasing from other liquor stores and limits liquor bars who purchase from liquor stores to one case a month. In that sense, retailers are dependent on their distributor, and Republic National is the largest in the state.

Heaven and the Michigan government forbids that we should have a free market in alcohol sales where a single distributor's problems wouldn't be able to disrupt the entire state.

Note that even when the system "works" as designed, I still can't buy Yuengling, or Spitfire Beer in this state for that matter, nor lots of other fine brands up here.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Ride The D-Qline

Detroit's 3.3 mile long rail-transit of wonder, the Q-line, is already deteriorating after 2 years of operation.

The Detroit Free Press: Get serious about fixing the QLINE or admit that it's just for show

Of course, one must be amazed that someone actually gave up their car to rely on this 3.3 mile light rail that moves, if at all, at the speed of a slow walk.

As I've written previously to amusing criticism, my wife and I gave up car ownership in June 2018. Early on, we expected to rely on the train for trips to destinations such as the Detroit Institute of Art, Whole Foods and Midtown restaurants. While we do sometimes take the streetcar to those places, "rely" isn’t quite the right word for using the QLINE. In good weather, scooters or walking often are faster, happier options.

Ah, an SWPL mass transit enthusiast that publicly preached giving up his car, so he can use mass transit to the DIA and of course, Whole Foods. So how's that workin' out for ya there skippy?

M-1 Rail, which runs the QLINE, acknowledges that it is “not where we want with reliability at this moment,” spokesman Dan Lijana told me. Improvements are being made, he said, in arrival estimates and staffing that will improve reliability, though they aren’t visible yet.

This is after two and a half years of operation. This is exasperating. Already, many Detroiters scoff at the streetcar, complain about its unreliability and don’t consider it among transportation options.

So not only is it a slow 3.3 miles, but it's an unreliable erratic 3.3 miles.

Who coulda seen this coming?

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Glock And P80 Ejection Enhancements

If you have a 9mm 3rd Generation Glock, or if say, you happen to be building a P80 frame into a Not-A-Glock, you likely have an ejector that looks like this, especially if you recently bought a Glock frame completion kit online:

Note the narrow point at the end of the ejector.

This design can, but not always, cause ejection issues including failure to eject the brass completely from the firearm and stovepipes.

This is rather disheartening especially as Glock is generally the standard for reliability when it comes to 9mm pistols.

Luckily, there is a fix: You replace the 3rd Gen ejector with a 4th Generation ejector:

Note how much more meaty and squared off the tip of that 4th gen ejector is compared to the troublesome part #336.

These go for around $7 or so from places like Midway and Brownells. A nice inexpensive fix to what can be a very frustrating problem.

However, the 4th Generation trigger block that contains the ejector does not fit in the 3rd generation frame. So a little finagling is needed.

On the back of the ejector block, there's a small metal bit of the end of the ejector showing. Using a small flat head screwdriver, you can push it out from there (not from the front or you'll bend it) until it comes free.

This pops it out the front:

Then place the 4th Gen ejector into the slot from the front, and push it all the way into place until it fits completely flush, then reassemble.

Done, and no more ejection problems for you.

Monday, November 18, 2019

If Only The Place Had California Levels Of Gun Control.....Oh, Nevermind

The shooting took place in California.

The Detroit News: California police say 10 shot, 4 killed at backyard party

Funny how such strict gun laws in California just don't seem to keep the criminals from breaking those same laws and committing crimes.

There oughta be a law against doing that, right?

Losing Your Guns In A Boating Accident... Without A Boat

The "I lost all my guns in a tragic boating accident" has been quite the meme for awhile now.

The gun owner in the linked article decided to top that meme by having his car roll into a pond with his guns inside.

The Detroit News: Car rolls into pond near Lyon Township gun range as owner scrambles to grab firearms

Lyon Township — A sedan that was started remotely slipped into a pond near a gun range on Saturday and had to be retrieved with the help of the Oakland County Sheriff's dive team, authorities said.

It was 7 feet below the surface of the water in a retention pond before divers spotted the car.

The water had "zero visibility conditions," a release from the Sheriff's Office said.

There were no injuries.

The owner of the black 2004 Saturn Ion said he was loading firearms into the trunk of his car parked near Huron Valley Guns in Lyon Township when it began rolling forward, said the Oakland County Sheriff's Office. The sedan traveled about 15 feet before entering the pond.

The vehicle, the sheriff's department said, was remotely started and equipped with manual transmission.

Having a remote start on a manual vehicle sounds a bit strange, not to mention having it rigged so that when it starts it the car can begin rolling is somewhat problematic.

There has been no comment yet as to how many of his guns were tragically lost in that zero-visibility pond.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

On Funerals, Shivas, And The Cruds

The funeral was last Sunday.

About 800 people attended, which was impressive. Marilyn had been a professor at University of Toronto prior to her retirement and had a ton of good friends and knew many, many people.

My dad gave a fantastic eulogy if I say so myself, and her daughters followed with a fine one as well. Lots of tears were shed.

It was quite the funeral procession to the cemetery, with prayers said there and the burial.

Afterwards we would got to synagogue in the mornings and sat shiva through Wednesday, including through Monday's record breaking ice and snowstorm in Toronto that dropped the most snow in 36 years for November. Unfortunately Tasha and the kids were driving home in it which made a 4.5 hour trip into 7.5 hours of fun.

The shivas were always busy which is good, as it surrounds the grieving family with friends and acquaintances and keeps you very busy, but the long days can and did get tiring. It's also nice to talk with people who had known her for a long time and some fun stories came out, as well as much about her accomplishments. Yes, she will be missed, and I regret we weren't as close as we could have been.

I headed back Wednesday night on the train which was rather a pleasant way to travel.

Unfortunately, I picked up a case of the shiva cruds - uvulitis where I can't really talk, its hard to swallow and it feels like I'm having trouble breathing constantly. Fun. So I got some antibiotics for that and hopefully they will kick in and I should recover soon, but for now its a tired feeling of crud-iness combined with being unable to sleep from waking up feeling like I can't breathe and then nodding off again. Yuck. Ah well, a case of the cruds is worth it to have been there and to support the family.

Friday, November 08, 2019

Farewell And May Your Memory Be For A Blessing

Marilyn Chapnik Smith died today.

Marilyn Chapnik Smith was an amazing person and I was honored that she was my step-mother for the past 24 years.

Today, after a long battle with cancer, she died peacefully and on her own terms, surrounded by her family and in the loving arms of her husband. The world will be a lesser place without her, and she will be missed by all who knew and loved her.

As always, fuck cancer.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Listening Your Attorney - Not A Law, But A Good Idea

Since people hire attorneys for their advice and legal skill, one would think the client would perhaps actually listen to that advice.

Not so much.

Client Y came in last month facing an eviction due to chronically paying her rent late. While the Landlord company has not minded so much before, the new administrator for the Landlord did.

I get it resolved in court with the Landlord’s attorney, point out some legal issues with their case and get it resolved that since she’s already rendered the rent after the complaint was filed, she just has to pay $205 in attorneys fees per the lease to stay. Simple right?

So that’s put on the record, she knows to pay it within 10 days, I tell her to pay it even sooner than that she agrees and we’re done, right?

Of course not. She doesn’t pay it until yesterday and then is shocked when a court officer shows up with an eviction notice.

Of course she paid her November rent in full yesterday (late yet again) as well as the attorney fee, so she needs to get this straightened out immediately, and it’s now a mess, she’s facing more fees and even a potential eviction, but it’s no one’s fault but hers.

Sigh. Please listen to your attorneys folks. You hired them for a reason after all.

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Israel Day 5 - Israel Air Force Museum - Transports

The Air Force Museum also features some transports used by the IAF.

The Boeing 377 Stratocruiser.

Think B-29 turned into a transport and you'd be right.

It was used for a variety of missions and served in the IAF in from 1964 to 1978. The Israelis added a rear-opening ramp and used it for air-dropping supplies as well as a heavy lift aircraft.

The Israelis called it the Anak or giant and referred to it as "the largest three engine plane in the world", due to the tendency of its engines to malfunction.

A DC-3:

A Beechcraft King Air:

A Nord 2501 Noratlas

The three Nords in the IAF were sold by the French as part of a package deal with the Ouragon jets and the French demanded Israel buy the Nords in order to get the jets. The Israelis ended up appreciated them and bought some more later on and used them for everything from dropping paratroopers to ferrying supplies and dropping bombs.

This brings us to our guide for the entire tour of Israel: Yaacov.

Why?

Well, it turns out he jumped from this very plane.

Yaacov, you see, is a certified bad-ass.

Born in France in 1941, he was one of the hidden Jewish Children. Only he, his brother, and mother survived the Holocaust, the rest of the family including his father, uncle, brothers and sisters were killed by the Nazis.

He immigrated to Israel after World War 2 ended, and then when he grew up joined the IDF and became a paratrooper.

He served in the 1967 Six-Day War; The 1973 Yom Kippur War; and the 1982 Lebanon War - side by side in that war with his son who was also a paratrooper.

Since his military service ended he's worked as a tour guide for 30 years and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the entire country and knows everyone by name. He also worked helping settle Ethiopian Jews in Israel when they arrived - we later met one of them and his family in the north of Israel when he remembered Yaacov from years ago and approached him to chat. Like I said, Yaacov knows everybody. It was always a fun moment, that happened multiple times during our trip, when other tour guides at sites would approach us when we were with Yaacov, chat with him, and then tell us we had the best tour guide around, after all, he had trained some of them!

78 years old and the man could walk us into the ground with ease, and he enjoyed every moment of teaching us and showing us Israel. I daresay he truly is the best tour guide in all of Israel.

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

The Practice Of Law Can Be Both Strange And Fun Sometimes

Sometimes, the practice of law is rather enjoyable.

Today I get to sue a psychic. Really. For fraud among other things. Basically she charged the client a lot of money for "career counseling" and failed to provide any. We won't go into why my client had the strange idea of seeking career coaching from a psychic of all people, but that's a whole other story.

I really can’t wait to ask the psychic in court: “So, you failed to see this lawsuit coming, eh?”

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Israel Day 5 - Israel Air Force Museum - Got MiGs?

The Israeli Air Force Museum also contains aircraft never used operationally by the Israeli Air Force.

The Israeli Air Force Museum happens to house a lot of MiG aircraft that were flown by their Arab state opponents and subsequently obtained by the Israeli Air Force.

The Mig-15

This Egyptian MiG-15 was shot down during the 1956 Suez campaign and retrieved from the sea.

The MiG-17:

This is one of two Syrian MiG-17s that happened to land by accident in 1968 at an Israeli air force base. Navigation was apparently not stressed sufficiently by the Syrian Air Force.

The MiG-19. Well, the tail of one anyways:

This particular MiG-19 was shot down during the Six Day War.

The MiG-23:

This Syrian MiG-23, similarly to the MiG-17, managed to land at an Israeli airbase in 1989 when its Syrian pilot decided to defect to Israel.

And the museum also houses the most famous MiG in Israeli hands:

MiG-21, number 007.

The MiG-21 was the front-line fighter of the Soviet Union and its allies in the 60s and 70s. The West badly wanted to obtain one to examine its flight characteristics and to prepare for dealing with it, whether in the slies of the Middle East or over Vietnam and elsewhere.

The Mossad launched Operation Diamond with the goal to obtain a MiG-21.

The Mossad was able to enlist Iraqi Pilot Munir Redfa, an Assyrian Christian, who agreed to defect, on condition that along with him and the MiG-21 that the Israelis get all of his family out of Iraq to Israel as well.

Munir Redfa then flew the MiG-21 from Iraq to Israel, and his family was successfully smuggled out of Iraq.

It was quickly renumbered as 007 in honor of how it was acquired and then flown extensively by Israeli pilots to examine and learn its strengths and weaknesses.

Once Israel obtained the MiG-21, it quickly shared both information about it and the aircraft itself with the United States, loaning the US the aircraft under the US Code named Have Doughnut program, which took place at the storied Area 51 base.

In 1988, an HBO movie, Steal the Sky gave a fictionalized and dramatized account of Operation Diamond and the defection of the MiG-21.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Flying - A Jaunt Around The Pattern

I had planned to fly a friend up around Saginaw Bay so he could see from the air some vacation property he was planning on buying.

The weather had other plans.

Saginaw was reporting low IFR conditions and Pontiac was showing MVFR going to VFR later.

So instead I took an early lunch and headed to the airport to get some practice in. Clouds were still low at about 2,500 so just pattern it would be. Might as well take the opportunity to keep the daytime currency up.

Everyone else seems to have the same idea and the pattern was quite busy with airplanes from DCT and Crosswinds and others flying around.

This started to settle down and thin out a bit, mainly because the winds began to pick up. While starting at about 6 knots from 250, they quickly began gusting 9-17 knots from 210-260. I certainly got some decent crosswind practice in.

I began with a takeoff from 27L the nice large runway and then did a right pattern for 27R to land. Not a bad landing. Next one around they had me do an early crosswind turn from 27R so a Cessna on 27L could slip behind me into the 27R pattern. Yes it was busy. Then following another Cessna I did a nice landing with a fun gust as I was flaring to land to make life interesting. Not a bad landing as things go, but I didn’t want to leave it at that not perfect landing.

So up I go again, lots of gusting crosswinds, come in and I have to extend my downwind for a Cessna turning a wide out base to land. I see the traffic and let tower know I’ve got them in sight and then continue outward on the downwind leg until they’ve passed me heading in. Then I do my base turn afterwards for good separation and follow them in to land for a very sweet crosswind landing.

That’s 0.8 and 4 landings.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Good Thing That Wayne State University Is A Gun Free Zone - Oh, Wait.

The Detroit Free Press: Wayne State police warn students, staff after 2 campus robberies

Wayne State University is in Detroit, co-located with some rather, um, exciting in a bad way shall we say areas of Detroit.

Wayne State University police are warning students and staff to use caution after two on-campus robberies.

Let's note that per the article, both robberies, all of six minutes apart, involved the armed robbers using handguns to rob the two students in question.

I guess the criminals didn't follow the gun free zone rules for Wayne State University.

Funny how that happens.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Israel Day 5 - Israel Air Force Museum - Netz 107

Israel first acquired the F-16 in 1980.

The F-16 is not named the Fighting Falcon in Israeli service. Instead its called the Netz.

Netz 107 was the first of the F-16s to arrive in Israel, but that's not its claim to fame nor why it has a place in the Israeli Air Force Museum.

The word "Netz" meaning “Hawk” was the appellation attached to the F-16 A/B series of aircraft, and Netz 107 is an F-16A.

On June 7, 1981 Netz 107 along with 7 other F-16As and six F-15s flying cover took part in Operation Opera, the attack on Iraq's nuclear reactor.

Netz 107 piloted by Amos Yadlin, was the second plane to attack and hit the reactor, following the attack of the Squadron Commander Ze'ev Raz (yes, leaders lead) knocking the reactor out of commission. This prevented Saddam Hussein from acquiring nuclear weapons a strong desire he had at the time.

Nertz 107 went on to score six and a half air-to-air kills, the most by an F-16 in the world. 4 of these were MiG-23s and two were Su-22s (one of which was a gun kill) and a Syrian Aérospatiale Gazelle helicopter was also shot down by Netz 107. All of these kills took place in 1982.

Netz 107 is one of a handful of aircraft in the world that sports a nuclear reactor kill marker.

The F-16s have done well in Israeli service, from the first air-to-air kill by an F-16 ever on July 14 1981, shooting down a Syrian MiG 21 to today, Israeli F-16s have accounted for 53 enemy aircraft in combat and is the ISraeli Air Forces primary ground attack aircraft today.

Later F-I6s are not named Netz, each variant has a different name.

The F-16 C/D variants are named "Barak" meaning Lighting.

The latest F-16 Development, the F-16 I is named the "Sufa" or Storm.

Seeing Netz 107 was awesome. A historic aircraft involved in a major event in aviation and world history up close.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Israel Day 5 - Israel Air Force Museum - The Kfir

The last variant of the Mirage to fly with the IAF, the IAI Kfir took the Mirage to a whole new level.

Building on the experience gained in manufacturing the Nesher, IAI created the Kfir, or Lion Cub, a Mach 2 fighter-bomber.

First was the C.1 version:

The C.1 quickly advanced into the C.2 version, including reconnaissance models.

The Reconnaissance Kfir RC.2 version has a distinctively longer nose, packed full of advanced avionics:

Kfirs also come in a two seat variant for training, the Kfir TC.2 including this particular one, which was the first TC.2 made:

And a TC.2 in standard livery for training:

Kfirs have also been leased to the US Navy and Marine Corps for use as aggressor aircraft, designated the F-21. This one came off lease and was returned to Israel.

The Kfir have mainly been used by the IAF in the ground attack role, and can carry an impressive array of air to ground ordnance as this Kfir C.7 demonstrates:

With a primary role as a ground attack aircraft, given the air superiority role was in the capable hands of the F-15 Baz, only one Kfir in IAF service to date has an air-to-air kill.

This Kfir C.2 was the one that shot down a Syrian MiG-21:

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

What Is It With Democrats And Mass Deleting Emails?

Hillary, between having a private server and backing up a copy where it could be easily hacked, suffered no punishment for destroying government emails, much less having classified emails on non-secure personal servers and copied wholesale to an account that has Chinese links and could be easily compromised.

Now Detroit's Democrat Mayor and staff are facing their own email deletion scandal relating to some favors done by the mayor for a charity run by a "friend" of the mayor.

The Detroit News: Editorial: Detroit email cover-up deserves more than wrist slap

So his staff deleted incriminating emails relating to the deal once it came to light.

But, just as with Hillary!, Mayor Duggan and his staff faces not even a mere slap on the wrist - the staffers now just have to undergo training in how not to delete embarrassing government emails, or at the very least how to do it less obtrusively and not get caught doing it.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Israel Day 5 - Israel Air Force Museum - The F-15 "Baz"

Israel first acquired the F-15 Eagle in October 1976.

Not called the Eagle in IAF service, as that name went to the A-4, The F-15 has the moniker "Baz" IOn IAF service meaning Falcon. As you might guess, the F-16 Fighting Falcon has a different name in the IAF as well.

In IAF service, the F-15 has an impressive 61 to none kill ratio, including shooting down MiG-25s. No Israeli F-15s have been lost in combat, but at least three have been lost in training accidents.

This particular aircraft at the museum is responsible for 4 of those kills, sporting 4 Syrian aircraft kill rings.

That the F-15 is a superlative aircraft is beyond question. In Service with multiple nations, it has a 102-0 kill ratio.

Even when damaged, the F15 still can bring its crew home.

In 1983, an Israeli F-15, damaged in a collision, during a training exercise lost an entire wing but was still able to land safely, a testament to the strength and excellence of the aircraft design and the cool head of the pilot.

You can see and hear the pilot involved in that event retell what occurred:

In 2011, an Israeli F-15D suffered severe damage from a bird-strike from a flock of Pelicans. It was repaired using the parts of a single seat Israeli F-15, most likely a C model, and has been named FrankenBaz or FrankenEagle. The repair cost $1 million, cheap when considering a replacement F-15D runs about $40 million.

Even as Israel begins to acquire the F-35, the F-15 will continue to serve as an air superiority fighter and intends to continue to fly updated versions in tandem with the F-35.

Israel has continued to improve the F-15, improving its avionics and weapons systems while in its service.

The F-15E Strike Eagle has also been placed into service by the IAF with a modified version to fit Israeli requirements, the F-15I Ra'am (Thunder) currently in service with Israel's 69 Squadron, The Hammers.