Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!

Halloween began with the kids carving pumpkins to their liking:

One went for scary, the other elementary.

In full-on dark they really popped:

Then our eldest having already decided that as she is almost 14 she was too old to go trick or treating so she went to hang out with a friend.

The rest of us went to a friend's place for a Halloween pre-treat gathering, and then did a blitz of their neighborhood searching for candy.

A quick group pose and they were off:

Much candy was retrieved from their neighborhood and much fun and friendship was had while doing so. The adults kept everyone safe, especially with the occasional car coming by, and while it was cold out it was happily neither windy nor raining and was a rather pleasant evening considering it had sprinkled snow here this morning.

The kids all had a great time as did the adults as adult beverages to fortify our expedition were generously passed around. Good times and good people.

Smoking Salmon In The Rain

On Sunday, Tash noted that I should smoke something.

Since she desired some fresh smoked salmon, some fresh smoked salmon she would have.

I bought a salmon fillet and after curting it in half as it was rather large, and washing it off covered it in a mix of 1 cup salt and 3 cups brown sugar, covered over the tray with saran wrap and left it in the fridge overnight. By morning there was a syrup-consistency and colored fluid all about it in the tray as the salt and sugar did their work to draw the moisture from the salmon. I drained it, flipped it and went to work.

Coming home from work last night I removed it from the tray and there was even more liquid, briefly rinsed it off, patted it dry and started the smoker.

It was rainy and cold and I found that peanut oil really helps get the coals going when you soak the newspaper in it.

I added boiling water to the smoking bowl and placed the locally-sourced apple wood in the smoker in the base and waited for the charcoal to be ready.

Then I took the fillet and placed it on the smoker.

Then I added the burning charcoal, placed the smoker top over the base and let it smoke away. It was hard to get it up to temp as it was cold and wet out but after 2 and a half hours of smoking it was ready.

It tasted great when served with some freshly mashed potatoes and all concerned, including the dog, were quite happy with the way the salmon came out.

Yes, the Salmon was most agreeable, I must say.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Stop Playing With It, Part The Umpteenth

The Detroit News: Police: Man finds gun, accidentally shoots self

Yes it's a tale of Detroit Dude, a close relative of Florida Man, but still:

A 20-year-old Detroit man is recovering after shooting himself with a gun he apparently found in a heat vent outdoors on the city's west side.

. . .

Witnesses told police that after finding a handgun in a heat vent in the area, the man was playing with the gun when it went off and shot him.

Yet another reason why basic firearms handling safety and the 4 rules should be taught in schools as part of health class.

Guns aren't for "playing with". Unfamiliar firearms you happen to find that were probably hidden in a heating vent are even less so.

The gun didn't "go off" - He was probably clowning around with his finger on the trigger or otherwise fiddling with it while pointing it at his bodily appendages, and he had a negligent discharge as a result.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

No Aerial Joy In Mudville Today

Very low overcast layer at 1,000-2,000 feet all along my planned route of flight. Too darn low.

I had planned to fly to an airport and meet another pilot friend there for breakfast.

No such luck.

It should clear later in the day. . . . by the time I don't have a plane available.

Getting an IFR rating is moving up the priority list.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Another Reason Why The Libertarian Party Just Isn't Taken Seriously

They run candidates like these for office:

New York Post: NYC mayoral candidate once tried to hijack an airplane

Yes, it's true the Libertarian Party's symbol should be changed to a white circle on a red background. After all they have a snowballs chance in hell of winning even if they ran a credible candidate and when they even fail to vet or run credible candidates . . . .

Well, that low chance of winning is compounded and reinforced when the candidates they do run are simply not credible - either ex-mental patients with a history of hijacking an aircraft, or recently the episode when their Party Chairman decides to let it all hang out and run around naked on stage during the party's presidential convention. Yeah, that inspires confidence.

The image most people have of the Libertarian Party is that of a bunch of doctrinal college students hanging out in their parents' basements smoking weed, reading some Ayn Rand, and screeching "taxation is theft!" during a full moon.

Since you can push for legalizing marijuana with the Democratic party and tax cuts with the Republican Party it kinda makes their base of support rather thin.

Seriously, did no one think that running this guy was a bad idea and that somehow he wouldn't make the LP look even more of a joke and fundamentally unserious and incapable of winning an election than it is?

That's the Libertarian Party, having what should be the best political message - Freedom - and then consistently coupling it with the most inept and incompetent presentation, marketing, execution, and candidates.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

On Infrastructure

Going on five days without potable water being pumped to the house does lead one to think. Water pressure is pretty much restored but were still under a boil water advisory. I still have plenty of bottled water on hand and it is still just an inconvenience to me at least. But it certainly shows some serious issues with our infrastructure. Apparently it should be restored fully by midnight Friday and then everybody has to flush their house lines, which should give the local sewer system one heckuva workout.

This incident leads to a few observations:

First, when you have any disruption to society's typically smooth-flowing infrastructure the panic gets rather palpable - people around here the first day or two of this crisis have been clearing out all drinking water from store shelves - completely. Its now been restocked in most places and while the water issue has affected a very large area of southeastern Michigan one can only imagine if the size of the affected area was much larger how much worse it would be.

Second, people hate that the law of supply and demand becomes very visibly in effect during a crisis. A gas station in Commerce Township was selling cases of bottled water for $19 a case of 40 bottles and people were flipping out and complaining on Facebook etc about gouging. The same bottles they would have no problem buying for $1 each from a cooler they suddenly hate the idea of buying a case of bottles at .48 cents each as pre-crisis a case of the water was about 5 bucks. In places where the price stayed at 5 bucks, there were empty shelves. The higher price encouraged the gas station owner to have it in stock and those who wanted it at that price paid it. Your choice, had you not stocked up on it prior to the break was either none or $19.

Third, we don't pay nearly enough attention to infrastructure. it's simply not sexy.

Few politician wants to be seen ribbon-cutting at a refurbishment of a water processing plant. No politicians, none, no mater how they may deserve it, would like a sewer line named after them.

Maintenance gets short-shrift as maintaining power lines, sewer and water lines tend to not be noticed until they break and society then notices their lack very quickly indeed. The sorry state of the roads around here is illustrative of the failure to maintain what is already in place. Lots of the infrastructure around here is old and getting older and failure to have enough funds to maintain and improve it over time is going to lead to a much larger bill as politicians keep kicking the can down the road until it becomes too big a failure to go unnoticed. Add the endemic corruption in Wayne County and Detroit, with its sorry legacy of diverting water and sewer funding (including payments form the suburban communities around Detroit) into a slush fund for political patronage and the problem gets even worse. The longer we wait to fix the issues and defer the needed maintenance, the more expensive it gets and the higher the consequences when failure inevitably happens.

The historic lack of spending on infrastructure in this area is unconscionable even as its understandable for politicians to spend money on more shiny and visible things for their constituents and to buy their votes and feather their own nests rather than on the necessary but not necessarily seen supports for decent civilized living. The consequences of the political misalignment of priorities are fast coming to a head and this should be seen as a wake-up call rather than an unexpected and unanticipated incident to be forgotten once the pipe is fixed.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Unknown World War Two Tales - The Tragedy Of The Cap Arcona And The Thielbek

The Cap Acona was a German liner of the Hamburg-South America Line, that interestingly enough stood in for the Titanic in the German movie of 1942 named, creatively enough, Titanic.

From operating as a cruise liner prior to the outbreak of the war, she was then painted grey and entered war service and its last runs were evacuating German soldiers in the Baltic from the advancing Soviet Army.

She then was floating in the Bay of Lubeck along with the SS Thielbek

and the SS Deutschland.

Himmler had ordered that concentration camp inmates were not to be allowed to be rescued by the allies alive.

Himmler and other Nazis, seeking to hide evidence of their crimes sought to wipe away all evidence.

Concentration camp inmates, mainly from the Neuengamme concentration camp near Hamburg, and the Stutthof and Mittelbau-Dorastarting camps began on April 20, 1945 and prisoners were ferried to and loaded on the ships Cap Arcona, Thielbek and Deutschland. The Cap Arcona, a liner by this time did not have functioning engines.

When the ships were full and there were still more concentration camp inmates from Stutthof and Mittelbau-Dorastarting could not be loaded, the SS simply machine-gunned or beat to death 500 inmates on the beach.

The full ships with prisoners locked aboard lacked the facilities for caring for them and 20-30 of the prisoners died daily from April 20 up to May 3, 1945. Hitler had already shot himself on April 30, but the killing went on.

The SS planned to sink the ships with all aboard. In a terrible irony of war, It turns out they would not be the ones to sink the ships after all. The ships were to be sunk by the Allies.

On May 3, 1945 just days before the end of the war, Typhoon fighter-bombers of Royal Air Force 83 Group roared overhead and commenced an attack, firing rockets and dropping bombs on the ships, and then strafing survivors in the water.

While Swedish and Swiss Red Cross officials had informed British intelligence on 2 May 1945 of the presence of large numbers of prisoners on ships at anchor in Lübeck Bay, and RAF intelligence was informed of this, this vital information failed to be passed on to the RAF pilots who were instead instructed to attack the ships on the belief that they might be used by the SS to escape and set up resistance elsewhere.

Wracked by rocket fire and bombs, The Cap Arcona was immediately set on fire and capsized soon afterward.

The Thielbeck was set afire and capsized in 20 minutes.

The Deutschland also capsized and sank but apparently all on board survived and were then loaded onto the SS Athen.

5,000 died when the Cap Arcona sank with only 350 concentration camp inmates surviving. By comparison, 490 of the 600 Germans on board survived.

Of the 2,800 prisoners aboard Thielbek, only 50 survived the attack.

The SS then proceeded to shot those survivors who could not move unassisted from the water.

1971 is the last year where known bones from this attack have washed ashore.

British records relating to the incident are apparently sealed until 2045.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

If It Weren't For All The Fake Hate Crimes . . .

There may not be any hate crimes at all.

The Detroit Free Press: Eastern Michigan U. racist graffiti: Ex-student charged, did it for 'self-serving' reasons

"It was totally self-serving," Eastern Michigan University Chief of Police Robert Heighes told the media during a quick news conference. "It was not driven by politics. It was not driven by race."

Well, thank goodness for that. A black guy graffiti-ing "KKK" and "Leave N-word" around a campus cant possibly have a political or racial motivation. And if not, it sure as heck was used for both political and racial means.

Especially when his fake hate crime led to a convenient protest complete with blocking of traffic to protest the racist messages and claim systemic racism etc.

The idiot perpetrator Eddie Curlin is now charged with

three counts of malicious destruction of property; four counts of identity theft; and one count of using computers to commit a crime. Malicious destruction of property is a misdemeanor. Identity theft is a felony, as is the charge of using computers to commit a crime. Curlin was returned to the Department of Corrections following his arraignment.

Heighes said the identity thefts came to light as the department investigated the grafitti, but were not directly tied to it.

Let's hope he is prosecuted to the fullest to make other fakers of hate crimes (and perpetrators of actual hate crimes) think again before doing it.

Lonely Planet Editors Seem To Be Seriously Smoking The Electric Lettuce

The Detroit Free Press: Detroit is the No. 2 city in the world to visit, Lonely Planet says

Seriously, I had to check that it wasn't reporting form The Onion. Lonely Planet rated Detroit the 2nd top city in the word to visit right behind Seville, Spain.

Detroit just managed to eek its way ahead of both Damascus and Kabul (both somehow didn't place in the top ten), and handily beat out Olso, Canberra and Antwerp in the list, not to mention all the amazing cities that didn't make the top ten - as in most of them.

I mean this whole campaign to say good things about Detroit is nice and all, but Lonely Planet crowning it the Number 2 city in the whole freaking world to visit has just got to be SWPL ironic self-parody.

Kid Rock Won't Be Rockin' The Senate Anytime Soon

Kid Rock has now come out and declared his candidacy for senate was just a publicity stunt and he's not actually running.

The Detroit News: Kid Rock: Senate run just a publicity stunt

It's a pity. After all, he might very well have won. The powers-that-be on both sides of the aisle wouldn't have liked that very much, and one wonders what influence that had on his announcement not to run after all.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Monday Night Boil Water Advisory For The Area

Due to a major water main break, there is now a boil water advisory in effect for Wixom, Farmington Hills, Walled Lake, West Bloomfield, Bloomfield Township and Bloomfield Hills Commerce Township, areas of Novi Oakland Township (sand Rochester Hills.

Basically one must boil any tap water and let it cool before using.

Since I keep a reserve on hand of a few cases of bottled water (Costco does make minor incident planning rather easy), this should prove to be no more than a minor inconvenience.

Of course, they just announced that schools will be closed tomorrow due to the boil water advisory, so that will prove more of an inconvenience.

Update: Boil water advisory is extended through Friday for the whole area and lots of restaurants are ordered closed. On top of that we have very low water pressure now at the house.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Smoking Ribs - It's What's For Dinner

Today was a beautifully nice and sunny day here in Southeastern Michigan. Since we hadn't done any smoking in awhile, I was requested to do so and the weather promised to be good for it.

I picked up some ribs last night and prepared them for smoking, rinsing them off, drying and then applying some yellow mustard and spices. The mustard makes the spices stick.

So today after some errands I started the smoker, getitng the charcoal going and using some locally-sourced hickory wood as the smoking wood of choice for the ribs.

Smoked to perfection for hours, and they smell and more importantly taste great.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Flying - Fly By Night To KLAN

After not having flown at night for over a year as my last night flight was in April 2016 it was time to get up again and give it a go.

Considering the long time since I had last flown at night, I decided it would be prudent to take an instructor along for safety reasons and guidance, but I would be pilot in command and sole manipulator of the controls.

I planned a flight from Pontiac to Lansing to get some cross-country time and some more experience in Class C airspace.

The instructor suggested we do some landings at Lansing to get me comfortable with playing in a Class C and to get my night rating back up current. So that is what we did and I had the route prepared. It would prove to be an experience.

I arrived at the airport and started to preflight 88J.

It was a very nice evening with light winds of 5-6 knots out of 260.

Preflight was good and it started fine but during the runup I saw two things:

1. The vacuum system was sucking, or rather not sucking enough and was making both the heading indicator and attitude indicator inoperable.

Ok, you don't need those to fly VFR bit they're certainly nice to have and I'd be happier with them functioning especially on a night flight.

2. Next, the Alternator warning light came on and stayed on.

Losing electrical power and thus all lights, turn coordinator and radios and transponder while flying at night in controlled airspace would really suck.

The instructor based on the other instruments seemed to think the alternator was working and we could try it but he asked "If you were alone, what would you do?"

I stated that two error conditions meant the plane already had two strikes and three would mean we're out, so I would not fly it under those conditions.

He said that showed good judgment and was the right decision so we parked it and got another plane.

By now it was full on dark so the red/white LED flashlight I had brought along was necessary and I used it while flying a fair bit as well, as the instrument panel lighting in the Archer left a bit to be desired at times.

So we got into N8570F and all worked on that plane. Before we took off the instructor noted I could ask Pontiac for flight following so I did cal ground and we got a transponder number and directions to call Detroit departure after we took off. Tower then cleared us for a straight out departure and off we went.

We were soon handed off to Lansing approach and as we were flying a course of 282 they said expect a landing on 28L, which is the really big runway at Lansing.

On the way another plane was also flying at 4,500 in the same general area so Lansing had us descend to 4,000 and instructed the other plane to make no altitude changes without informing them. Flight following can come quite in handy for noise abatement purposes.

As we got closer they then switched us to 28R which is the forlorn little brother to 28L. At 3,600 feet compared to 28L 8,500 it does get lost in the mix, and pilots have apparently sometimes almost landed on 28L'staxiway thinking it was 28L and 28L was 28R, especially as 28R is not as brightly lit as 28L or 24, which would cause an issue later.

So we headed in and landed on 28R. Landing at night was interesting - first off 28R really does seem like the red-headed stepchild of a runway at KLAN, and its not nearly as well nor as brightly lit as the other runways, at all.

But I found it and at night it feels like you're going to land well short of the runway. Adding to the fun is that if you fixate on the numbers during landing at night you will drive the plane right into them, you have to be ready to look down the runway and flare earlier than it feels like you need to. Yes, that first landing was a bit exciting and a little flat-ish but not terrible, but the instructor did mention I would want to flare - NOW. Some people get nervous I guess.

So we did a full stop and did a taxi back along echo and took off again, and then the fun started.

A good takeoff but the lights of 28R were quickly lost in the background as Tower had us really really extend our upwind for traffic, and as we came around I had lost 28R but the instructor saw it and then we turned cross and downwind and then final we saw it nice and lit up and made an excellent approach. Heck it was so beautiful it would be a perfect landing, I mean everything was lined up just right and we were just about to make out the numbers when....

Lansing Tower: "N8570F I show you lined up to land on Runway 24".

Oh family-blog me.

Me: "N8570F is going around". So go around we did. Good thing I'm good at those and have them down pat.

Yep, 24 was lit up brighter than a Christmas tree and drew us like moths to a flame, and with the extended upwind and with 28R by comparison being not readily visible, both the instructor and I thought we were lined up on 28R at the time.

No runway incursion occurred, problem was averted, and it was a good learning experience.

We then did a couple more landings on and takeoffs from 28R and then headed back to Pontiac again with flight following.

A good landing at Pontiac at 27R with winds calm and that was a nice cross-country night flight.

2.0 and 4 night landings.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Did Michigan Narrowly Dodge a Foxconn Con?

Michigan officials are all sad that Wisconsin got the Foxconn plant.

Now when we see what was offered we might just take a moment and be glad that as taxpayers it was Wisconcin that got it after all.

The Detroit Free Press: Michigan offered Foxconn $3.8 billion for flat screen plant, still lost to Wisconsin's $3 billion bid

The Detroit News: Inside Michigan’s $7.3B pitch to Foxconn

Note that two different news papers, owned by the same management group are about 4 billion dollars apart in their description of the offers Michigan made to Foxconn.

Ah, that's just petty cash among incentive plans, right?

So let's take the lower 3,700,000,000.00 number, noting that is about 7% of the entire state budget - for an incentive to one company.

Reading the articles its rather difficult to say how many proposed jobs were claimed to be created by these moves, nor how would actually be created by this incentive plan, and as such the following calculatiosn may be totally off under the principle of JGIGO - Journalism Garbage In, Garbage Out.

So, reading between the lines The Detroit News says of the 3 Billion portion of the offer that

Wisconsin won the first round of the Foxconn sweepstakes after finalizing a $3 billion incentive plan that will reportedly allow the company to qualify for up to $2.85 million in cash from state. Foxconn plans to build a liquid-crystal display panel plant in Racine County and will qualify for the full state incentives over 15 years if it invests $10 billion in Wisconsin and ultimately adds 13,000 jobs paying an average salary of nearly $54,000.

Basically that portion will cost Wisconsin and not Michigan now $230,769.23 per job or the government is essentially paying the $54,000 annual salary for each of these workers for about 4 years. Putting them all on welfare directly, or heck giving each of them $100,000 in cash upfront rather than having their employing unit on welfare would be cheaper, neh?

But it gets better, and possibly it will become worse for Michigan.

The Freep offers the following gem:

The jobs announcements from Foxconn may not be over, as the offers from Michigan and Wisconsin show.

Both states bid on another potential factory known as Project 868. Little is known about this plant but Michigan expected it to bring a $4.2 billion investment from Foxconn and up to 5,200 jobs. In their June letter to Foxconn, Michigan officials offered the company $3.1 billion in incentives for Project 868.

Well, 3.1 billion by 5,200 jobs is a whopping $596,153.84 subsidy per job, and dividing it at the above claimed average salary of $54,000 would mean the state via the subsidy (in other words, your taxes) would be paying the worker's wages for the company for 11 years.

How anyone thinks that Michigan winning this bid would be an actual win for Michigan taxpayers is beyond me.

Did anyone actually do a cost-benefit analysis or was the shiny lure of a technology company promising jobs in return for massive subsidies overriding any rational thought?

Sure, a ribbon cutting ceremony and a claim that high-tech manufacturing is coming to Michigan is nice and all, but the level of outright bribery involved via these incentives and the costs imposed on all the people in Michigan who are not beneficiaries of this largess is pretty much outrageous.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Unknown World War Two Tales - Frenchmen Flyers In Russia

World War 2 was by its very definition a World War, engulfing the globe and having a cast of millions. While much of the course of it is well known, there are many aspects, units, episodes, and smaller engagements within it that I certainly have not learned about and I suspect others are similarly unaware.

So I've decided to do an occasional post, and perhaps should interest be sufficient make it a regular thing on this blog on some of those lesser known episodes.

So without further ado: Frenchmen Flyers in Russia!

In 1943, at the suggestion of Charles De Gaulle, a group of French pilots was sent to assist the Russians on the Eastern Front.

Groupe de Chasse 3 of the Free French Air Force was sent to the Soviet Union to fight the Nazis, and soon became the most decorated unit in the French Air Force.

The unit was soon named the Normandie-Niemen Regiment, commemorating its contribution to the Battle of The Niemen River.

Initially flying the Yak-1 fighter that they used to good effect, and then transitioning to the superlative Yak-3 fighter, the Regiment racked up 273 enemy aircraft shot down, 37 probables, for a loss of 87 aircraft and 52 pilots.

The Yak 3 out turn and out run the Germans' Bf-109 and FW 190 fighters. German pilots were warned not to engage a Yak-3 in a dogfight below 14,000 ft, as it could roll with the Focke-Wulf Fw-190, and its turn radius was superior. With an excellent plane the excellent pilots of Normandie-Niemen made their presence felt.

Picture of a Yak 3 in Normandie-Niemen colors

Apparently the unit annoyed the Nazis so much that Field Marshall Keitel had issued an order that any French pilot captured on the eastern front would be executed rather than treated as a Prisoner of War.

4 of the French pilots were awarded the decoration of Hero of The Soviet Union, the Soviet's highest honor.

A surviving Yak 3 fighter from the Normandie-Niemen Regiment is on display at Le Bourget in France. There is a Yak 3 in flying condition at the Planes of Fame Museum in California sporting Normandie-Niemen colors.

To learn more about the story of the Normandie-Niemen Regiment, there's a book by John D. Clarke titled French Eagles, Soviet Heroes: The Normandie-Niemen Squadrons on the Eastern Front that looks rather good.

The Normandie-Niemen Squadron name lives on in active squadrons in both the French and Russian Air Forces today.

In the French Air Force as the Escadron de chasse 2/30 Normandie-Niemen, flying the Rafale, and in Russian air forces today s the "8-й гвардейский Витебский дважды Краснознаменный ордена Суворова второй степени истребительный полк ВВС России "Нормандия – Неман" of the 11th Air Army flying Mig-29s.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

No Flying Today

I had planned out a nice cross-country flight to KJXN to meet a friend who also planed to fly in for lunch at the airport.

Over the week the prog chart started looking progressively worse.

Sure enough, I cancelled last night after it was predicting low clouds and winds from 230-250 degrees at 18-30 knots (This makes for a crosswind in excess of the Archer's crosswind limits at times), and I'm glad I did.

Winds today are gusting 18-32 and there's a broken cloud layer hanging out around 1,500 feet. Either factor would be more than enough to weather cancel a flight and both make it a complete no-brainer.

Ah well, I'll get out again and hopefully soon if the weather will ever cooperate with a planned flight.

All The Ones

Yesterday consisted of a lot of running around town in the pouring rain, chauffeuring kids and doing multiple errands.

During that time, the Odometer decided to hit a numerically interesting number. Picture was taken by sidekick that I was chauffeuring around at the time while I was driving.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

More Stupid Criminal Tricks

There's a reason they're called dumb criminals folks.

Probably this is one of Livingston County Sheriff's easiest catches to date, and yet another reminder to not do drugs as they sure do make you all sorts of stupid:

The Detroit Free Press: Sheriff: Man brings heroin to girlfriend's release from jail

Yes, the idiot actually went to the Livingston County Sheriff's Office and Jail parking lot, in broad daylight, passed out in his car, likely from drug use, and had plenty of heroin in his car. They only thing he didn't provide was posting a sign in the car window stating "Idiot and drugs inside, come and get 'em".

One has to wonder if he really just wanted to give them an excuse to get him put in jail because his girlfriend was getting out.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Singapore Day 6 - To The Beach

So at my birthday party the day before, Jonathan suggested we go to Changi beach as we wanted to swim in the Pacific Ocean on our trip.

So bright and early we got on the bus to head for Changi Village.

It was a nice double-decker air-conditioned bus, figuring out the fare was interesting as the driver had limited English, and we had no Chinese and limited varieties of banknotes, and the fare is based on distance and age, but we got it figured out.

Taking the bus was rather enjoyable and we got to see quite a bit of the city. We passed by the Malabar Mosque on the way:

And the famous Gay World Hotel:

Gay in the original and very English sense of the word. That hotel has been in Singapore with that name for a very long time which might disappoint certain travelers who might book there expecting the more modern meaning.

Then we passed by the infamous Changi prison.

Yes it is the same site as the Changi prison of World War 2. The Changi World War 2 prison museum is now at a different location. The prison today still looks very imposing indeed.

The bus drops you off at a station in Changi village and it's a short walk from the bus station to the beach.

On the way you cross a bridge by the docks lined with small boats.

Then you reach the beach.

It is a nice sandy beach with trees farther back for shade. It's also quite near a shipping lane so large freighters come by while you're swimming.

The water was warm and the beach was nice and sandy, and there were nice clean changing rooms and shower facilities, and restaurants close by so we had a nice picnic lunch on the beach.

The day was full of swimming and watching the boats go by.

Not only did boats go by, as Changi Beach is, luckily for an aviation buff like myself, in the flight path to Singapore's Changi International Airport.

I may have gone a little plane crazy, with so many planes from so many different Asian airlines in liveries that I've never seen in person before (click 'em to embiggen as they say and see the liveries, quite a few of which are rather ornate):

Air Asia has a cheerful slogan: "Now Everyone Can Fly", so carry on flying Mr. B.

There was Lion Air:

There was Tiger Air:

There was no Bear Air, Oh My.

But there was Royal Brunei:

EVA Air:

Vietnam Airlines:

China Airlines:


Garuda Indonesia:



The venerable Cathay Pacific airline:

Heck, just when you get over Fox cancelling Firefly, you find out it's still flying -- in Asia:

That was quite a nice day at the beach.

After getting our fill of swimming, lunch, swimming some more, walking along the beach and sightseeing, we then took the bus back into town and had to stop for Starbucks.

However, we decided to have drinks there that you could only get in Singapore:

We got a Shiok-ah-ccino, and two more drinks that I don't remember the names of, but one was rather memorable as it had oatmeal in it which was rather interesting, but I really wouldn't recommend it. However, the Shiok-ah-ccino was very tasty as was the special iced tea drink.

Then we headed back to our abode, rested for a bit, and prepared for the next event of the day.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Thugs' Veto Strikes Again

Daily Nous: “Credible Threats Of Personal Violence” Lead To Retraction of Colonialism Paper

Following a number of complaints, Taylor & Francis conducted a thorough investigation into the peer review process on this article. Whilst this clearly demonstrated the essay had undergone double-blind peer review, in line with the journal’s editorial policy, the journal editor has subsequently received serious and credible threats of personal violence. These threats are linked to the publication of this essay. As the publisher, we must take this seriously. Taylor & Francis has a strong and supportive duty of care to all our academic editorial teams, and this is why we are withdrawing this essay.

So a scholarly article is fast going down the memory hole, not because it was false or lacked academic merit, but because people didn't like it enough to threaten violence over it.

Why did it work? Because people know the Left will in fact do violence when they make these kinds of threats.

The paper itself was pretty darned innocuous, arguing that colonialism had some benefits to the colonized, but of course its now rather hard to find a copy of it extant to argue for or against the author's claims in the paper and to see if its detractors had anything to substantiate their violence-inducing butt-hurt beyond having the word colonialism associated with some positive benefits.

After all, what did the Romans ever do for us?

Of course the thugs' veto, with its threat of violence is being justified by those on the left with the very peculiar theory that "speech is violence". Yes, his detractors actually claim his paper is "violence against their [the colonized] respective communities and cultures." Thus, once the Left has decided that speech, in this case written speech in a scholarly peer-reviewed article no less, is violence, the Left uses this leap of logic to justify threats of violence and actual violence as an appropriate response.

So far, as seen by the cringe-worthy and cowering retraction of the paper, it is working.

This can backfire on the Left rather badly, especially if the Right takes up this "speech is violence" idea and climbs onto the thugs' veto bandwagon.

Just imagine Universities being told:

Look, Communism has killed over 100 million people, Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto is therefore clearly violent speech and violence against "its victims respective communities and cultures", so any professor teaching it is clearly enabling and inspiring mass murder. If you continue to teach this violence at your university . . . . . .

Well, that's a lovely university you got here, too bad if something were to happen to it.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Not Exactly A Ringing Endorsement For Gun Control, That.

Sure enough, life imitates Scott Adams when it comes to the Democrats' calls for gun control:

Scott Adams last year put it very well on his blog:

So it seems to me that gun control can’t be solved because Democrats are using guns to kill each other – and want it to stop – whereas Republicans are using guns to defend against Democrats. Psychologically, those are different risk profiles. And you can’t reconcile those interests, except on the margins. For example, both sides might agree that rocket launchers are a step too far. But Democrats are unlikely to talk Republicans out of gun ownership because it comes off as “Put down your gun so I can shoot you.”

On the heels of Las Vegas we have, just as Scott Adams predicted, the oh-so-clever Democrats tweeting clear invitations that the NRA give in on gun control exactly as he predicted:

But don't worry, after Sinatra and her ilk wish death on NRA members, they'll express surprise and outrage and claim we're "unreasonable" and against common sense when we refuse to go along with their gun banning schemes.

No Aerial Joy In Mudville Today

I had planned a nice simple and short cross-country from Pontiac to Adrian today. Never been to Adrian before and its about the southernmost airport in Michigan before you hit Ohio.

Unfortunately it was not to be.

A heavy thunderstorm and winds last night left us with very low cloud cover and IFR/MVFR conditions and Airmets for turbulence all along the route.

The briefer stated the magic words "VFR not recommended" which is a clue that it is not appropriate for me to go flying. It's a clue that I do not ignore, so today was a weather scratch.

Of course, it's now burning off and will be all nice and decent flying weather now, after I was scheduled to fly, and the airplanes are all booked.

Ah well, we'll try again next weekend.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

The Blood Is Not Yet Dry, And The Stupid Has Already Started To Fly

While much is still not known about the atrocity in Las Vegas, that has not kept the talking heads and pundits from a full-court press for gun bans, nor for the uninformed to spout off on things about which they know not.

Nor has it taken long for moronic politicians to start introducing laws in order to show they will "do something", and one of the dumbest proposals so far goes to Detroit Councilwoman Janee Ayers:

The Detroit News: Councilwoman wants gun restrictions in Detroit hotels

Yes, she's actually proposing to ban guns from hotels in Detroit, seriously.

a Detroit City Council member said she wants restrictions on rifles and semiautomatic weapons in hotel rooms in the city that face public spaces.

Councilwoman Janee Ayers said she will ask the city’s Law Department to study the feasibility of measures to secure powerful weapons during the council’s Tuesday session. An ordinance could include anything from an outright ban to measures to secure patrons’ guns in the hotel.

While she got some face-time and publicity that she would otherwise not get from this inane proposal, at least we can be happy that Michigan has state level preemption that prohibits dancers in the blood from infringing on people's rights in truly inane knee-jerk ways in response to a criminal and murderous act.

Well, That Was Rather Interesting For A Tuesday Morning.

As part of my job I often do court-appointed Guardian-Ad-Litem work, which typically consists of visiting and interviewing the proposed ward and all the parties, assessing the ward's condition and seeing if a guardianship and/or conservatorship is warranted and making sure the proposed guardian or conservator is appropriate and has the best interests of the ward first and foremost in their plans and actions.

Today got a bit more sporty than usual.

I was assigned to be the GAL for a black female with schizoaffective disorder.

On speaking with the lady therapist from Community Mental Health who was responsible for the petition, I found out said person had been known to wander about Detroit, Royal Oak Township, and Pontiac and there was a small matter of multiple police interactions and a matter building fire that she may have set. Oh fun.

Oh, and one other thing I was told - she doesn't like white people.

Fortuitously, she had a doctor appointment at Community Mental Health so I was able to visit her there. She was led in by the group home administrator where she's currently staying and was rather resistant to entering the building.

It was pretty clear she was having a full-blown break from reality.

She initially didn't want to accept he paperwork that she's required to be served with but the group home administrator got her calmed down enough so that we could "talk" in a conference room with 4 of us present.

Talking consisted of her going off in very delusional monologues and it was pretty clear she didn't comprehend anything I was saying and really didn't want to listen but instead did various monologues with a variety of nutso subjects, including claims that white aliens gave her a frontal lobotomy.

When the her monologue shifted to her wanting to kill white people it did get a little uncomfortable.

That she soon after she said that she bolted from the room knocking the lady therapist aside (who happened to be white) made it kinda sporty. Security did manage to get her under control and she was off to see her doctor there as clearly she's either off her meds or they're not working.

That she needs a guardian and mental health treatment is abundantly clear.

One of the gravest mistakes this country has made is the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill.

Instead of the mentally ill being placed in institutions where they can be protected and treated, they're often out wandering the streets both at risk to themselves and others. This of course leads to crimes both against and by them, and jails acting as our mental institutions. It also results in under-funded and unempowered community mental health organizations trying to cope with the caseload and lack of authority to keep and treat the mentally ill. The current system of dealing with the severely mentally ill is simply not working.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Flying - A Cross Country To Bay City

This morning promised yet another beautiful day for flying.

Some patches of mist on the ground but with calm winds and otherwise high ceilings. A good weather brief confirming what I already knew and making sure there were no surprises, and I was good to go.

I was flying N5337F today a Piper Archer II. It flew quite nicely but for the fact that the seat didn't rise at all from its lowest position so I needed a cushion to sit on, and the shoulder strap is starting to be a pain. I squawked those issues when I got back.

Takeoff from 27R in the calm and clear was uneventful, and I headed off to the north and the mist, practically a full on fog layer, could be seen hovering at ground level. Thankfully it had avoided the airport on this day.


First I went to Lapeer as I hadn't been there in a very long time and never solo. I did a perfect landing on Runway 18: Ruway like a sticker in the windshield, pitch and lock in the airspeed for final, and reduce power and then flat at hangar height and back-pressure just enough to stop it from descending until the airspeed bled off and I landed just past the numbers in a very smooth landing. I then happily taxied back to takeoff again.

Then I headed north again to Bay City.

I passed many windmills on the way.

I soon saw Bay City and the bay itself.

When I was 25 nautical miles out from Bay City, I called Saginaw Approach as their TRSA covers Bay City and its airport and I let them know I'd like to do some sightseeing and then land at Bay City Airport. They gave me a transponder code and I was good to go.

I had last been over Bay City in March 2016 and this was my first time by myself and I wanted to see something I had seen there on that flight.

So I meandered along the bay and inlet of the Saginaw river to Bay City.

I then found that which I had been looking to see again:

The USS Edson.

Then Saginaw approach asked me if after sightseeing I was still going to land at Bay City. I could take the hint and stated that yes I would and started heading to it.

I entered the pattern for Runway 18 at Bay City and did yet another beautiful landing.

Right after I did so a Cessna landed as well.

I had a nice chat with the pilot after heading into the lounge.

Bay City James Clements Airport is a rather historic airport in Michigan.

The admin building dates to 1930 and was built to commemorate Michigan Airmen who had died in the Great War.

The building has a nice lounge that also serves as a museum to commemorate Michigan aviators, including James Clements, who is featured with the large portrait, for whom the airport is named.

Pretty neat artifacts there, including flying club membership documents and plaques from 1913. I definetly enjoyed seeing all the early aviation history .

Someone had a nice Yak-18M parked by the admin building:

A very nice spot to visit, the pilot I encountered there was very friendly as was the airport manager who was in. I'll have to be back to really spend some time there and visit the Edson, indeed, I think a friend wants to come along to see it.

I then pre-flighted N5337F and took off on Runway 18.

I then called up Saginaw Approach and got flight following. I then was soon handed off to Flint, and the Flint controller was in a very cheerful mood. He was really happy and friendly to everyone who called him and he handled everyone with good cheer and courtesy.

I was told to fly and maintain 3,700 feet which worked until I got to almost over Flint Airport itself when there was a scattered cloud layer that I needed to descend to avoid.

The controller had no problem with my request but had me change my heading before descending for a bit to avoid traffic.

I got to be pretty close to the Flint airfield itself at 2,500 feet.

There was some light chop at 2,500 but it was no big deal. I then kept on heading to Pontiac at 2,500 until 12 miles out Flint terminated radar services and I was told to squawk VFR and was free to contact Pontiac which I did.

Then Pontiac had me let them know when I was 3 miles out and then they had me do a left base entry for Runway 9L and the winds were now 10 knots at 180, so a direct crosswind.

No problem, I let them know, setup my approach and did yet another excellent landing. I then parked the plane and brought in the clipboard and that was my morning adventure.

3 landings and 2.2 excellent cross-country flying hours.