Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Blackbeard's Recap 2

Day 2 started off with some strong coffee and breakfast and then we hit the water of the Eleuthras.

We dove Closemon Reef, Dog Rocks, and Tunnel Rocks. 

We had Gio join our dive buddy group to form a three-man team.

Gio is a very fun, extroverted, guy from California with a ton of energy.

He became a good dive buddy and we stayed a three-man team for pretty much all the dives on the trip from then on out.

Closemon reef dive had a max depth of 19 feet and lasted an hour and three minutes.  It's right off of Pimlico Cay, hence the reef is Close, Mon.

The highlight was a stingray flying through the water which was cool to see.

Other than that there were typical reef fish and coral.


Dog Rocks was 78.2 feet and 43 minutes.

 We dove down to the church site with the coral swim through that makes it look like a cathedral. A very pretty dive site.

The church had some pretty cool looking fish nearby:


and there were lots of Barracuda swimming around as well:


Tunnel Rocks we dove both during the day and nighttime.

39.7 feet for 51 minutes during the day, and 45 feet for 54 minutes that night.

It has some interesting coral growing trees that have been placed there to help increase the coral.

 Quite a few lionfish were seen on every dive. 

It's a pervasive invasive species, with some nasty venomous spines on it.  It apparently is a rather tasty fish once caught and filleted, but the Bahamas has yet to declare open season on it, unlike other Caribbean locations, so no fishing for it for us.

A jack joined our dive team for awhile likley looking for prey we might make appear:

 On the night dive, those same jacks were out and about looking for food:

If you had a smaller fish in your light beam, a jack would likely swoop in out of the darkness and appreciate you finding its meal.

We also saw a turtle resting during the night dive:

It was a nice, relaxing night dive.

Monday, April 29, 2024

The University of Michigan Pro-Terrorism Encampment

So, this is the main sign up at the University of Michigan pro-Hamas encampment:

 It says "Long Live The Intifada"

Note this is not the Dearborn campus, where it would be rather expected, instead, it is the main campus at Ann Arbor.

Intifada of course is the Hamas (and Fatah) campaign of terrorist bombings, shootings, and knifing attacks against Jews in Israel of which the October 7 attack was a part.

Note well they are praising the Intifada. 

To praise the Intifada while at the same time as claiming they are all for a ceasefire is disingenuous at best, and almost but not quite material support for terrorism at worst.  Makes the students useful idiots at best, with a strong sprinkling of progressive and Islamist fellow travelers.

We will note that Gov. Whitmer has so far still failed to condemn the Dearborn chants of Death to Israel and Death to America, and has now decided to do a "fine people on both sides" bit in regards to the University of Michigan - because she wants the Islamist votes for the Democrats, and she apparently equates people calling for global terrorism to be the same as those calling for Hamas to release the hostages they took on October 7 - including Americans still in captivity. 

Rather pathetic on her part.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Blackbeard's Recap 1

I actually got to the Bahamas as planned this trip. Was up at 0300 driving in the rain to get to the airport and happily there were no mechanical issues on this flight. Made it to my connecting flight at LaGuardia Airport with no problems and one heckuva long walk between the flights.

Made it in on Friday and stayed at the Bayview Suites on Paradise Island, which is a darn nice hotel. 

At the hotel, I repacked for live-aboard mode as opposed to flying mode so I was ready.

I then had a nice 10-minute walk in the sun to Anthony's restaurant, where I had an outstanding Bahamas style curry and a local beer.

After a good night, I assembled everything and checked out, and waited for my ride to the boat.  In the lobby, I met up with another diver, Jay, who was also heading to Blackbeard's.

We got picked up and were dropped off at the Marina where a large number of divers waited as both  Blackbeard's Morning Star and Sea Explore as well as All Star's Cat Ppalu were getting ready to head out. It was a nice time chatting with a whole bunch of divers.

We then boarded the Morningstar.

I was going to sleep in the Galley cabin whcih has upsides and downsides.


a Bigger bed, twin sized even!

Further upside, the coffee pot was in arms reach from my bunk, which was also a downside as the cook had that thing chunking and burbling along loudly starting at 5:30 am.

I also had a great view of the phone booth from within which the cook made amazing meals.

I claimed and labelled my mug and got to unpacking.

Downside to the galley bunks is that the galley also had the shower, and when the shower was in use, the toiler was unavailable.   It also had less privacy than the other bunk areas so you typically had to change lying down in your bunk with the curtain drawn. 

A further upside is the galley area was one of the two social centers of the ship so there was always something going on and it was a fun bunch of people.  I must say I enjoyed it more than the bow, even with the challenges in changing.

We had a nice cold-cut lunch and after the excellent and thorough boat and dive safety briefings, we headed out to sea.

We had sufficient time to do a checkout dive and the location would be Periwinkle reef, that had been the last dive on the December trip.

Jay and I decided to be dive buddies, and we were a good pairing with similar outlooks on safety and diving in general.

We dove in and found ourselves inside a school of fish:


Quite a neat dive. The Yellow Snappers are always a happy sight.

It was a great first dive. 

Max depth 22.8 feet and 43 minutes.

We then had our first dinner on board, socialized with some after dinner beverages and hit the hay for what would be a big day.  We would start heading to the Eleutheras, as the weather in the Exumas was going to be not as favorable for diving.

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

High School Level: Completed

Today was the Senior Clap-Out to celebrate the very last day of High School for the graduating seniors.

They would walk through the school being cheered by the other students and then to the door.  Leah would be walking among them, graduating summa cum laude.

Parents awaited for the door to open and the seniors to come out and to cheer them on.  This included a parent in a T-Rex suit to mark the festive occasion - wish I'd thought of that myself.

So, at 2:30pm they walked out the door for the last time as students to the cheers of their parents.

Quite an emotional moment, many of the female students (and moms too) were tearing up. A very proud moment as well to see these kids walk forward into their futures.

All that remains are her IB exams, and then she's done with high school completely.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Back From Blackbeard's

Just back from an excellent week on a Bahamas dive live aboard again with Blackbeard's and on the mighty Morningstar.

Even while a couple of the dive sites were the same, it was a different trip from December.  The Morningstar had a completely different crew on this trip, and they were fantastic.  I also got to meet and be friends with a great new fun bunch of divers.

Weather was actually cooler and wavier than in December, with chilly winds and chillier evening dives. As a result, I got to dive the Eleuthras as well as the Exumas this time.

Saw lots of cool things and cool fish including the friendliest parrotfish ever:


I also had multiple neat shark encounters - and not just during the shark feeding dive.  I'm talking closer than during the shark dive.

More blogging on the trip to follow.

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Sure China, We'll Discuss Doing That Right After Recognition Of An Independent Taiwan, Ok?

Reuters:  China's foreign minister says admitting Palestinian state to UN is move to rectify injustice

China's foreign minister Wang Yi on Saturday said efforts to admit a Palestinian state into the United Nations were a move to rectify a prolonged injustice, state media Xinhua reported.

. . .

"A prompt admission of Palestine into the United Nations is a move to rectify a prolonged historical injustice," Xinhua quoted Wang as saying.

 At least the Biden Administration did cave to the Islamist Democrat vote and actually did the right thing and vetoed this latest bit of rewarding ongoing acts of Hamas terrorism.

But sure thing Wang, right after recognition of Taiwan's independence is made by China and Taiwan gets a seat in the United Nations, I'm sure we can discuss rectifying "injustice", as counterfactual as that is,  in the Middle East.

 I'll note Taiwan that Taiwan has a far better claim to independent statehood and hasn't been firing rockets at, committing acts of terrorism, mass murder, or rape of its neighbors while China backed Hamas sure hasn't been holding back in those areas.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

That's Quite The Rationalization There

Remember folks there's a socialist in National Socialist. And just as in the opast the Progressives are again finding common ground with national socialist ideas, acts, and symbols.

Frontpage: Swastikas Are Progressive Now: Vandalizing synagogues with swastikas is good, leftists argue.

Malcolm Harris, a former Occupy Wall Street activist and author of ‘Palo Alto’ and other books published through Hachette, explained that swastikas were progressive now.
Harris claims that he viewed vandalizing a synagogue with a swastika as “an anti-zionist condemnation of Israeli genocide.” And if vandalizing synagogues with swastikas, the ultimate symbol of Nazi behavior is only “anti-Zionist”, not antisemitic, then there really is no difference between anti-Zionism and antisemitism, and between leftist anti-Zionists and Nazi antisemites.

 Verily, the article shows many of the ideas of the progressive left and the Nazis aren't all that distinguishable, especially when it comes to Jews:

The Democratic Socialists of America, which has led the campaign for Hamas, had invited a representative of Melenchon’s Communist allied party from France, who claimed that when a “man of the left” is “called an anti-Semite, it means he’s not far from power.” That same party became the only one to refuse  to condemn Oct 7 and political figures from the party accused Israel of killing its own children.

 It past time Harris and the other "progressive" pro-Hamasniks looked in the mirror and asked themselves :"Are we the baddies?"

Saturday, April 13, 2024

The Liberty Aviation Museum - Part 2

There's lots to see at the museum:

If you have interest in the naval side of World War 2, they have not one, but two PT boats undergoing restoration.  Once restored, they plan to give tours on Lake Erie in them.


To defend the airfield and the PT Boats they have multiple German small arms:

And if that's not enough they have some German Flak guns:

That's a 20mm to the left and a 37mm to the right of it.


If you get hungry, they have a German field Kitchen, complete with a mounted machine gun, though the Tin Goose diner next door has far better food.

They also have multiple World War 2 Vehicles on display:


It's a very impressive collection, and that's not all of it.

Well worth a visit to see these amazing historical artifacts in person.

Friday, April 12, 2024

The Liberty Aviation Museum

At Port Clinton airport, while waiting for the eclipse we toured the Liberty Aviation Museum.

The Museum has been growing steadily since it was opened at the airport in 2011. It has a very friendly staff and enthusiastic docents wandering around sharing their love of hisotry and knowledge of the artifacts on display.

It has a rather eclectic range of exhibits and restoration activities, and it is not all aviation related.

This range includes informs and costumes. 

Early airline uniforms:

The original uniforms worn int he series Hogan's Heroes:

The uniform Charlie Sheen worn as the Wild Thing, Ricky Vaughn in Major League:

The bathrobe worn by Alan Alda in MASH:

Pretty cool stuff.

Of course there are airplanes:

Georgie's Gal, a B-25 in flying condition.

A PBY Catalina undergoing restoration:

The PBY is a lot bigger in person than you would think from this picture. It's huge.

There's also a couple Ford Trimotors undergoing restoration to flying status.

A beautiful Stearman was on display:

A beautifully restored TBF Avenger, with its wings folded, was in the hangar:

Lots of things to see, with more pictures to follow.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Hamas Health Ministry Admits Their Casualty Numbers Are "Flawed"

The credulous and anti-Israel world takes Hamas Health Ministry causality reports as gospel.

Even though this is the same Hamas-run Health Ministry that outright lied about the casualty count when the Hamas rocket hit the Al Shifa Hospital parking lot (500 claimed when they tried to pin it on Israel when in reality it was less than 50).  The same Hamas-run Health Ministry whose casualty reporting is statistically rather suspect - with casualty numbers that increase perfectly linearly daily throughout the conflict.

Well, the Hamas Health Ministry just admitted they have some flaws.  As in a lot of flaws, as in massively overstating casualties sort of flaws.

FDD: Hamas-Run Gaza Health Ministry Admits to Flaws in Casualty Data

The Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health said on April 6 that it had “incomplete data” for 11,371 of the 33,091 Palestinian fatalities it claims to have documented. In a statistical report, the ministry notes that it considers an individual record to be incomplete if it is missing any of the following key data points: identity number, full name, date of birth, or date of death. The health ministry also released a report on April 3 that acknowledged the presence of incomplete data but did not define what it meant by “incomplete.” In that earlier report, the ministry acknowledged the incompleteness of 12,263 records. It is unclear why, after just three more days, the number fell to 11,371 — a decrease of more than 900 records.

Prior to its admissions of incomplete data, the health ministry asserted that the information in more than 15,000 fatality records had stemmed from “reliable media sources.” However, the ministry never identified the sources in question and Gaza has no independent media.

In other words, potentially half of the 33,000 Health Ministry reported casualties that the Arabs and the world uses to claim Israel is committing "genocide" may be entirely made up propaganda by the Health Ministry.

This would reduce Israel's terrorist to civilian death ration to below 1:0.5 from the current 1:1.8.

Global average ratio of terrorist to civilian death in urban combat is around 1:9, with the US military being  around 1:5 or 1:7 by comparison.

In short, Israel is likely now running the most civilian-safe intense urban combat campaign in recorded history - against an enemy using civilians as human shields, deliberately emplacing itself and fighting from civilian locations, and providing no shelters for the civilian population.  

The Islamists and their fellow travelers claims of genocide in this conflict are simply so much bushwah, and should be treated as such.  Those making such claims are either an outright pro-Hamas idiot or just a credulous idiot - pick one.

Anyone that claims there is a "Gazacaust" or "genocide" occurring in Gaza needs to go find the nearest tree and apologize for being a waste of oxygen.

I Believe That's What Is Called A Clue

Heading into court today and after passing through the metal detectors I got to watch the deputies stop a fellow after he had gone through to let him know he could not take the handcuff key on his key ring into the building.

They nicely agreed to hold onto it for him as it was raining out.  

They don't want just anyone wandering about the courthouse with a handcuff key, as there is often handcuffed prisoners around the facility and having people wandering around with they keys could get interesting. Good on them for paying attention and seeing it.

When asked where he was going, the fellow stated he had an appointment to see his probation officer.

Yet another good reason to relieve him of his handcuff key, that.

So, a good thing to keep in mind for law enforcement is felons they stop on the street may be carrying around handcuff keys to get out of handcuffs after they are arrested, so it pays to check for it.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Ah, Detroit Uglification Strikes Again

The nature of Detroit doesn't really change.

For $425,000.00, Detroit got the following sign and a couple others like it installed along Highway 94 in time for the NFL draft - note the difference between the original conception and execution:

A tad less grand than expected.  It's rather underwhelming, and with a coloration that blends into the grass and barely stands out from the background along the highway. In short, score another one for Detroit uglificaiton rather than beautification.

The Detroit News: Gmac Cash on Detroit's new 'Hollywood' sign: 'You can take it back'

One must wonder at the amount of grift and kickbacks that may have involved in the contracting for this sign for the city to spend so much to get so little, and for it to be so ugly as well. Expect any criticism to be that one doesn't understand art, or something similar.

As one anonymous wag on the Internet dryly noted:  "This is what happens when you order your Hollywood-style sign from Temu."

Tuesday, April 09, 2024

NPR: Filtering And Flavoring The News Will Lose You The Trust Of Your Audience

The article is a good read about how NPR tilted ever farther leftward, did the diversity dance in everything but political diversity, and lost trust as it filtered and flavored news to meet its left-wing agenda:

The Free Press: I’ve Been at NPR for 25 Years. Here’s How We Lost America’s Trust.

After all, as they say at NPR: "We have both kinds of political opinion - Left! and hard Left!"

The resulting loss of audience trust from this shift is pretty apparent. 

Once trust is lost it's rather hard to regain - especially as in the case of NPR you just navel gaze and not address and remedy the actions that caused the lack of trust.

I rather liked how the article noted with pride that NPR was trusted above CNN, the New York Times, and gas station sushi.

Ok, the article didn’t actually say gas station sushi, but it might as well have done. Beating out CNN and NYT in the trustworthiness department is awfully similar to winning the award for being the tallest midget at the fair. 

At least this one senior editor at NPR actually realizes and acknowledges that there is a problem. Hopefully, the other bien pensants at NPR will clue into the issue, but I'm not holding my breath waiting for them to do so.

Monday, April 08, 2024

Trip To The Totality

Originally, I was going to fly my eldest daughter and her boyfriend to Bowling Green, Ohio to see the totality.

That fell through as our maintenance officer grounded the Dakota yesterday after finding the left main landing gear had an issue and needed to be shimmed likely due to some of our flying club pilots being dumb and being on the brakes during landing.  Drat.

So, I got invited to go along as co-pilot with Scott, who had the other plane checked out.  Unfortunately, he had a guest, so I couldn't take the kids as we didn't have the seats available. He wanted me along to help handle the flight as he expected the airspace to be all sorts of busy.

Got to the airport this morning, and we got ready to go.  Scott would fly down and I would handle the radio, and we would switch on the way back.

Scott had filed IFR ahead of time which was a good idea. I got our clearance and we then headed out.  We planned a route from Pontiac to Adrian to Port Clinton to both keep out of what was going to be a busy Detroit Bravo airspace and to follow along the Lake Erie shoreline and not trying to cross the Lake.

It was a smooth flight out, I had fun handling a lot of radio traffic, and we were able to cut the corner of our route as Detroit Approach cleared us into the Bravo south of Ann Arbor, and then we bypassed Adrian and went direct to Port Clinton along the shoreline.

We passed by the Davis–Besse Nuclear Power Station.

 Arriving at the terminal area for Port Clinton it got all sorts of busy.  Lots of IFR and VFR traffic all coming in to land and enjoy the eclipse festivities.  We approached from the east and Toledo approach had us divert from the approach for spacing.  We then got vectored back and then cancelled IFR and went VFR for a visual approach.  We then got into the traffic pattern and had a nice landing.

We then headed to the terminal and got marshaled to a parking spot.


Lots of other planes were there and many more were arriving. They did a good job keeping the terminal parking area organized.  We checked in, bought some fuel, paid a landing fee and then headed to the Liberty Aviation museum on the field to both tour the museum and enjoy the festivities.

Much more on the Liberty Aviation Museum shortly.

We had a good time, toured the museum, got lunch, and saw the eclipse.

 There was a good layer of clouds so the totality while visible was not super sharp but it was still cool.

Birds stopped chirping, the temperature measurably fell, the airport runway and taxi lights came on automatically and it was an extremely cool experience.  Well worth the trip.

After that, we packed up and got ready to head back.  Pretty much everyone was leaving at the same time so we waited a bit to let the rush clear and then headed out.

I was flying this leg and did the departure from Port Clinton and climbed to 5,500 feet. We got flight following on the way back, and they first had us change course for traffic, and then let us into Detroit's Bravo having us descend to 3,500. We stayed in the Bravo all the way up to Ann Arbor where they kicked us out of the Bravo, and had us fly a bit west and then on to Pontiac.

On the way back, we could see traffic way backed up on the highways below us. 

Got a little bumpy at 3,500 compared to how smooth it was at 5,500 but no worries.

Then Detroit Approach instructed me to descend to 3,000, and they handed us off to Pontiac Tower.  I got to do an extended downwind and then follow other traffic in for landing on 27R.

I made a darn nice crosswind landing with winds right out of the south at 9 gusting 12 knots with no issues. 

Both Detroit and Toledo Approach handled the throng of air traffic very well, and Detroit clearing aircraft into the Bravo really helped a lot with traffic flow.

That was my first trip out of state in the Flying Club's aircraft and it was a ton of fun. Need to do more of that. 

It was a great trip to see the totality, and it was totally worth it.

That's 1.3, 1 landing, and one totality experienced.