Saturday, July 30, 2016

Never Let The Facts Get In The Way Of A Good Story, Wot?

The British Press provided a lovely demonstration of the efficacy of professional journalists and fact-checkers when they ran an article revealing their rather complete ignorance of things nautical.

It was a perfect convergence of journalist's ignorance matching their worldview and giving them a story that they could get some outrage and headlines over - waste by the defense sector.

However, even anyone with a passing familiarity with the subject could have pointed out they were all wet.

Legions of fact-checkers and editors really bombed on this one.

Sofrep News: British press freak out – Inept media believes naval 5-inch guns are literally 5-inch guns

A British tabloid made an embarrassing error Friday, writing a hysterical piece that incorrectly reported the Defence Ministry had paid hundreds of millions of pounds to buy a five-inch-long gun.

“We just blew £183m on a five-inch gun, but it’s ‘a good value for taxpayers,’” read the outraged headline from The Daily Star. The subheadline also reinforced that the author believed the gun was literally five inches, calling it “the length of a toothbrush.”

The only problem? Five-inch guns are named after their caliber, not their length. They shoot munitions that are five inches in diameter, meaning the guns themselves are necessarily huge.

Yes, the Daily Star was in high dudgeon that their navy had spent millions of pounds on guns they claimed to be the size of toothbrushes. Unoftunately for the Daily Star, they're not.

Did no one there even open a copy of Jane's Fighting Ships before running with the story? I mean, it's the ultimate reference guide to the subject made by the British fer crying out loud, and they didn't think to check before accusing their own Ministry of Defence of wasting funds on toothbrush-sized guns?

Instead of issuing a correction for their faux pas, the Star simply changed the article once their ignorance was pointed out, while slightly changing the headline.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Sometimes A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Or just one.

Horsing Around

We've met up with our relatives for our annual get together. Yesterday we took the three younger cousins for a horse riding lesson. Two of the older cousins came along to observe.

First they met the horse they would ride:

Apollo, a rather gentle horse around kids, but the alpha of the horse herd at the stable.

They also met Belle and were taken by her blue eyes.

They then each got to take turns leading the horse as well as riding it. Unfortunately the light in the stable was terrible so we got great silhouettes and not much else.

They had a great time.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Star Trek Beyond

So today I went to see Star Trek Beyond with my step-sister and step-brother-in-law.

Overall, it is a solid movie.

While the plot has holes in it that you could steer the Enterprise through, the great special effects, and more importantly the cast interaction and chemistry really makes the movie.

Without giving too much away, the MacGuffin the bad guy is searching for is rather underwhelming, especially compared to the effort he has put into obtaining it and it's rather meh compared to what he already had. How he got it was impressively unlikely, and how he came to be the bad guy is a massive leap of wtf-really?, as is a rather huge list of other improbables.

Once you suspend your disbelief to the plot holes, the characters are the main drivers of this story and the crew of this Enterprise does not disappoint. There's some real chemistry with this bunch of actors and it works to save what would otherwise be a rather ho-hum plot driven by special effects.

Keeping true to the Star Trek canon, it's still really bad luck to be wearing a red shirt unless you are Scotty. The Spock stuff is starting to veer a bit, but again, it works.

Don't expect any earth-shattering or particularly deep messages, but if you like Star Trek and want to enjoy a decent experience for your movie-going entertainment dollar, Star Trek Beyond will fit the bill nicely.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Oakland County - Another Year Of Solid Economic Management

Regardless of the train wreck in progress at the national level, here at the Oakland County level, the Republicans are doing an excellent job of good governance:

The Detroit News: 3-year Oakland County budget has $200M surplus

Say what you will of Brooks Patterson, he's been shown to be right more often than he's wrong, and the man knows how to run a county with fiscal responsibility, unlike certain neighboring counties . . . .

Unfortunately, with Oakland County becoming more and more purplish/blue, this fiscal responsibility and pro-business outlook may not last.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Dogfight: The Jett and The Migs

This Jett and This Migs:

Yes, the black and white rag-mop of a puppy is named Migs.

He thinks Jett is the best dog since sliced bread. Migs, when being walked, will sit by our house and refuse to move until Jett comes out.

Then they practice their dog-fighting skills:

Jett is quite tolerant of Migs jumping up on him.

He'll gently retaliate by running circles around Migs and then jumping over Migs and then running back to play.

They get along fine, both being good-natured dogs, and good friends.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sunday Garden Not Fun Day

More home maintenance, this time of the outside.

There's a lot of very neglected landscaping that had been let go by the prior owners and now it was time to really work on it beyond the annual weeding and mulching we've been doing. We have been working on it one garden bed at a time trying to get the weeds under control.

Today's job was the large bed bordering the left side of the house.

My initial plan of using a flamethrower to clear the weeds was sadly vetoed. That would have been cool, or actually hot.

For this side instead we had brought lots of mulch - 14 bags, weed cover, weed bags, etc, cutting tools and saw were at the ready.

Here's before:

Many of the weeds you see at the very back are taller than I am.

After weeding, going back to Home Depot for even more mulch, - another 10 bags - and more is still needed, cutting down tree limbs, and then moving all the weed bags and tree limbs down the hill to get to the street we have this:

Whew. Such weeds. Much soreness. Wow.

All that work deserved sitting back and enjoying this:

It looks great, so I guess the effort was worth it.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Stupidity And Adventures In Nature Don't Mix

Most people know that rivers don't run in circles, but apparently three women on a tubing outing did not.

MLIVE.COM: Muskegon River tubing trip turns into overnight nightmare for three women

They left for what they thought would be an easy float down Muskegon River Tuesday afternoon – but ended up spending the night on the river bank, scared and yelling for help.

The trio of young women were rescued 20 hours later after a fisherman eventually heard their cries, said Muskegon Township Deputy Fire Chief Bob Grabinski.

The women, all in their 20s, had never been tubing before and decided it would be a fun thing to do, Grabinski said. So they bought some tubes and headed to the popular launch site at the Maple Island Road bridge, Grabinski said.

"They were informed by somebody at the bridge that the river goes in a circle and if they put in there they would come back to their car," he said. "Not knowing anything, they set off on their little adventure."

Assuming that actually occurred, it's amazing how gullible some people can be. Rivers rarely if ever run in circles. Kind of a mean trick, that.

One would think they at least would have Googled the Muskegon river before embarking on their little floating jaunt, or taken someone with experience tubing on that river with them, but no.

Well they ended up a little wiser for the experience, that's for sure.

As a good friend often says: "If you're gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough."

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Great Lakes Pilotage Authority Turns The Tables On A Ship Going A-Viking

Historically, it's the Vikings with their longships that would go forth and pillage. Now the tables have been turned.

A Viking ship heading towards the Tall Ships Festival in Bay City, Michigan received a rude awakening - a bill for $400,000 in Great Lakes Pilotage fees.

The Detroit News: Viking ship heads to Bay City despite surprise bill.

$9,000 a day for pilots for the vessel for each and every day is rather spendy for a non-profit oar and sail-powered 6-knot replica Viking longboat.

Apparently there was a misunderstanding as to whether they were required or not and they've found out that they are. Apparently the fees don't scale for size.

On the upside, the fees have successfully stopped Viking raiders entering the Great Lakes since the 1960s when the rule went into place, so that's one way how you can stop a boatload of Viking raiders.

I expect it looked something like this but on the water, The ship was happily sailing along until:

They may need to do a raid on Detroit to get some more dimes, they're going to need them.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Fun Client Relations Activities

Yesterday, I went to work and then went to visit a client at his place of business and then at his range.

I brought along my P30 and put another 50 rounds through it, making it 1000 rounds even through with no issues and no cleaning. Still as accurate as ever.

I also brought a new toy to the range. You could call it: A man, a can, a plan.

Yes, I finally got the Form 4 approved for the Gemtech Outback IID suppressor - it took almost a year, and since I had bought it on sale a year ago, the transfer tax was just a few dollars less than the cost of the can itself.

To say it is quiet is an understatement. With subsonic 22 it is practically silent, and it ran fine with Aguila SSS rounds, and I now need to buy more of those. With ear protection on you can't tell that you're shooting it by sound. With CCI mini-mags you can still hear the crack of the bullet but it is still attenuated to the point that you can shoot without any ear protection. It's an excellent training aid for any noise-shy new shooters as on the M&P Compact 22, it is still nice light and doesn't affect the balance of it nor the sight picture at all.

I will say that getting the S&W factory installed thread protector off the barrel was a royal pain that required a vise and a whole lot of force.

Of course, what would a private range trip be without an Uzi present? Uzis, after all, have a definite role in developing positive client relationships.

The client in question is the owner and operator of Wicked Grips.

To say he makes awesome-looking and functional grips and other neat add-ons is an understatement.

In addition to pistol grips, he has a grip series out for the AR-15 that changes the feel to that of a 1911 grip and it does improve the feel and ergonomics over the standard grip. I got to try a set out on one of his AR15s and it does really change the grip angle nicely. Seeing his shop is akin to being a kid in a candy store.

I also got to try out quite a few of the guns he has including the PS90 which is awesome to shoot - no recoil and with a 50 round magazine in a compact and accurate package its some of the most fun you can have. I also got to shoot his semi-auto RPD that he is tinkering with to develop new grips and such, as well as multiple AR15 variants he's been working on.

We had one of his employees and a fellow firearms-related business owner for this outing and everyone got to shoot the Uzi and the can as well as an assortment of other firearms.

An excellent time was had by all.

Some clients are just awesome to have.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Ok, I'll Play A Word Game

If it's good enough for Borepatch and Tam, I guess a momentary distraction is good enough for me this morning.

Not bad for zipping through it.

Monday, July 11, 2016

But It's Never My Fault!. . . . . .

An interesting legal encounter with a less accomplished member of the criminal class.

Said person came to me for representation involved with him being accused of disorderly conduct at a public location.

Of course he claimed the entire event is just a misunderstanding, clearly not his fault, and the public personnel there who had contacted the police at the time want the whole matter dropped.

Of course they do, right?

Not so much.

In fact according to the prosecutor, the public officials at the location very much want it to go forward and their written statements at the time and some very nice video of the event which is pretty darn definitive that indeed he did it make it pretty darn conclusive.

The video does indeed show the disorderly conduct in stunning color, if not high definition.

The prosecutor offers a very nice deal of probation and some anger management counseling, which is indeed a nice deal given he's got a case all wrapped up with a pretty ribbon here for a 90 day misdemeanor.

Of course the potential client doesn't want that because it's not his fault and it's all a misunderstanding. This is all further complicated by his being on probation for a DV misdemeanor conviction which is again, accordingly to him, based on a misunderstanding and not his fault.

Getting the pattern here?

The fellow is rather heavily disconnected from reality, and I'm sure his medical marijuana card and use thereof isn't helping with that attachment to reality thing either.

So no, he's not using my services.

He will apparently be seeking other counsel who will agree with him that it's not his fault and that he can beat the impressive array of evidence nicely stacked against him by claiming its all just a misunderstanding. I expect the judge and jury on seeing the video evidence of his disorderly conduct and testimony from witnesses present will disagree rather strenuously with his perception.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Flying Lesson #66 - The Wind Gets Its Kicks On Lesson 66

This morning when I woke up it was VFR, and by the time I got to the airport it had become MVFR with cloud layer that finally moved above pattern level in time for the flight.

While the cloud layer was low, the wind sure as heck was not. Coming from around 280-300 and then to 330 at 10 knots moving up past 13 knots plus it soon started gusting more and we got low level wind shear just to make stuff interesting.

Perhaps a little too interesting.

I started off the flight in 757MK with a soft field takeoff, which is always fun. I still need to add a bit more finesse but it's coming along.

Then I did a soft field landing with crosswind correction and we did another soft field takeoff on the go which was better than the first one.

Next came a bunch of short field landings and the wind decided to do its best to kick me all over the place on final - massive sudden drops and gusts that were no fun at all. Not very confidence inspiring getting one's tail kicked around the sky like that. I sucked at picking an aiming point given the conditions. Had I been alone in the plane I would have done a go-round on at least one if not two of the landings, especially on one approach when the gusts and wind shift did its best to both drop the plane out of the sky and flip the plane simultaneously on final and a stable approach wasn't in the cards. Ray got it back to stable and I got the landings in ok.

We did do one go round as another plane started overtaking and cutting inside of us as we turned base to final, which added to the enjoyment of the flight.

Takeoffs were getting similarly interesting and I had to reduce my climb angle to compensate for sudden losses of wind complete with a right crosswind gusts on climb out.

Ray said given the conditions I handled it as well as he could expect any student to do and he was calling it as it was getting too frisky. Condiitons were certoanly right on the dge and the flight was more to give experience to draw on when faced with difficult condiitons.

So we landed and then taxied over to the FBO to pickup another of the school's planes. 755PR out of the shop and we taxied in order back. Kinda fun, the radio call was 755PR and company taxi on bravo to Runway 18 to Delta, and then to the flight school to shut down.

That's .8 and 6 landings and one heck of a rough lesson.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Flying Lesson #65 - More Landings At Romeo

Overall a decent lesson. I flew us over to Romeo and then did a normal landing followed by three no flap performance landings which went pretty decently. The shimmy damper started acting up after the first landing which was interesting. The last landing, being a no flap slip with right rudder and left aileron had us land a bit too much off center to the right of the centerline, something to work on, it was a fair bit of drift during the flare which was annoying.

I then flew us back to Pontiac and the landing started first being told to do a right base to final on 27R. So we lined it up and got ready and were cleared to land on 27R. We were heading for it and were past the airport fence and on the glide path almost ready to land on 27R when they suddenly shifted us over to 27L as a helicopter hadn't cleared 27R yet.

A little bit of short notice, but it worked out ok.

1.4 and 5 landings that are coming along ok.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Talk About Taking One For The (Progressive) Team

Chalk this one up to all-encompassing ideology winning out over bodily integrity, and progressive insanity winning out over rationality. This one really is both sickening and mind-boggling.

From Instapundit: OUT: STOCKHOLM SYNDROME. IN: MANNHEIM SYNDROME. Left-wing German politician who was raped by migrants admits she LIED to police about her attackers’ nationality because she did not want to encourage racism, and from Legal Insurrection: German Activist Lied About Rapists to Avoid Fueling Racism.

Yes, really.

As seen at the link, Selin Gören reported to the police that she had been robbed not raped and that it was done by German-speakers rather than Arabic-speakers because she would have hated for the attack to be used to point out that there's an issue with this batch of immigrants sexually assaulting people, because that would be, after all, racist.

She then accused another victim of being racist for daring to point out the identity of the attacker on a different occasion for a similar sexual assault at the same location, and it may very well have been the same attacker.

It used to be said a conservative was a liberal who had been mugged. In Europe that's no longer the case.

The European liberal now denies the mugging even took place and doubles down on the liberalism.

It's clear the left's hierarchy clearly has put feminism and indeed women's rights below that of Islamists and their rights to do as they wish, for it to be otherwise would be racist and not respecting the "immigrants" kultur, nicht wahr?.

Excusing and covering up a rape on the basis of the ethnic and religious background of an attacker (or any other basis for that matter) is inexcusable. For the victim of the rape to do so herself is unfathomable and a victory of the politically correct narrative over reality. I'm only halfway surprised that she didn't state that she herself had it coming to make the insanity complete.

It's a horrible but sadly not surprising to see the left, once proponents of feminism, excusing and covering up rapes as women are now ranked second class in the leftist hierarchy behind the Islamists.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Hillary's Song Today: Damn, It Feels Good To Be A Clinton

Anyone else would have been indicted.

But thankfully for Hillary, thanks to a 'chance' meeting on the tarmac between Lynch and Bill Clinton, as well as the fact that the Justice Department is run by Democrats and wasn't about to indict their candidate for office for crimes that anyone else would have been and indeed have been prosecuted for, she's going to be the next President of the United States.

When the director of the FBI comes out and indicates that laws were indeed broken but he feels a prosecutor will not indict you know the fix is in. Funny as to what prosecutor could possibly have told him that, right? Oh, you can put your hand down now Ms. Lynch.

So the Direcotr of The FBI has now stated he won't recommend charges. It is a sad day for the rule of law in this country and a smack in the face to law abiding Americans. Politics blatantly trumped the rule of law today, make no mistake.

People I know with security clearances are furious with this decision, and rightly so. This decision, and the final comment that such leniency and getting a kitchen pass certainly would not apply to them is a terrible insult. (Note: I do not have nor claim to have a security clearance, nor do I play one on TV).

The just application of laws in this country now seem to only apply to the little people, namely those whose last names aren't Clinton and those who are not affiliated and highly connected with the Democrat party.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Happy Independence Day!

240 Years ago, our nation's founders declared their independence from Great Britain and began an experiment in the creation of a republic and for liberty that has been the source of pride and good fortune for many and envy and disdain for others.

This year you could say we did a Brexit long before the Brexit was cool.

Happy Independence Day!

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Flying Lesson #64 - The Landing Improvement Process

Today the forecast was for pattern work with landings, landings and more landings.

On the initial takeoff I did a soft field which was going really well, right up until the time the aircraft that took off from 9R decided to do a left crosswind departure right in front of us on 9L as we were climbing out.

To say there was inappropriate separation would be an understatement. Not sure if the controller goofed up or the pilot did an early turn. Either way it was closer than it should have been. Later the same controller gave a plane permission to takeoff as we were coming in on final. The pilot of that plane held off on the takeoff until we were down and then on our way again. This controller seems to like the sequencing to be pretty tight. perhaps a bit too tight.

Then it was on to flying the pattern and my patterns are meeting Ray's expectations - not too wide and properly squared off with excellent altitude control. I did some soft field landing practice, followed by no flap forward slip landings. I apparently did it quite well, none were bouncers, every single one was pretty darn smooth, and I'm feeling a lot better about my landings.

Next up, Ray is going to start giving me practice check-rides and polishing up maneuvers for the test. Feeling pretty good right now.

That's 10 landings and 1.0 in the books.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Flying Lesson #63 - Performance Landings And Takeoffs

Today was a pattern day. Ray decided we should be really working on my landings and I certainly agreed.

I started the departure with a short field takeoff, and then did a short field landing.

Then Ray had me do a couple soft field takeoffs which were fun as always, on the first one I wasn't pushing forward far enough in ground effect but I cleaned that up on the second soft field takeoff. Then he had me do a few more short field landings with Ray changing the touchdown point each time.

Then we moved on to soft field landings and then finished up with a few no flap forward slip to land landings.

Lots to work on but all of them were substantially better than my last landing, so there's that.

That's 1.3 and 15 landings.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Not Flying Lesson - Clouds Lead To Ground School

The weather was IFR, changing to marginal VFR but with a cloud layer below pattern altitude so it was not going to be a VFR day. The thunderstorm that came through last night brought some much needed rain to the area, but the cumulus clouds are hanging around too low for comfort.

Instead Ray gave me an hour quiz in preparation for the oral portion of the checkride.

He seemed quite happy with my understanding, sans references, of airspace rules, private pilot privileges and limitations, and basic instrument functioning and error diagnosis. I apparently got a pretty important airspace question right that every other one of his students has goofed up.

I do need to brush up a bit on some of the internals of the instruments and their terminology. Aneroid wafers are easy to remember for some reason, but other internal components of the various instruments, not so much.

Still lots more to learn, relearn, and keep learning even more....

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day to our good neighbors to the north.