Page dedication

This blog is dedicated to the Life and Service of Captain Witold Pilecki - May 13, 1901 to May 25, 1948


All 58,173 (and counting) gun laws nationwide are infringements. REPEAL THEM ALL!

Monday, October 14, 2019

Going Dark

Due to circumstances I wish to control, this blog will go silent for the next couple of months, maybe less. I will explain when all returns to normal. I will monitor for comments to make sure any awaiting moderation are posted. My silence must include commenting on articles and blog posts around the web. Twitter account remains suspended.


Monday, October 7, 2019

Greenies Talkin' To Me Tryin' To Tell me How To Live!

The title of my post is a modification of the lyrics to Cheech & Chong's "Earache My Eye" song. For those of us old enough to remember this gem from our youth....enjoy!

My own experience with enviro-nazis goes like this:

Prior to 2005, I used to live in a more urban setting. I had a 1000sq. foot Cape Cod style house built in 1950 on a .2 acre city lot. The area had lots of nice old trees, meaning an annual leaf cleanup. One fall day, while blowing leaves into a big pile for pickup, this little girl (meaning 18-24, not 15 like Little Greta-Puppet) was walking by and decides to come onto MY PROPERTY to scold me for using an evil gas powered leaf blower. I shut it off and decided to discuss the terms at which I would agree to be more environmentally responsible. I told her that for the entire year, I used about 4 gallons of gasoline and maybe a quart of 2-stroke oil to maintain my yard, at a cost of about $12. I told her this was her chance to prove she was on-board with me no longer using my leaf blower; I offered her $25 cash (twice what it would normally cost) to use my rakes and she was more than welcome to manually rake my yard all season as needed. As the anger started to show on her face, I also said I would provide all the drinking water she would need, as well as feed her a meal if she was there working long enough. As you have guessed, she was not only NOT on board, but I got the usual libtard two-handed one-finger salute and profanity laced tirade. That is when I told her how disappointed I was about her not putting her money where her mouth is, and that she had no right to come onto my property to tell me how to live. I suggested she hastily leave before she won the silver bracelet award from the local PD. She stomped away still yelling her crap, but I could no longer hear her with my ear muffs on and the leaf blower screaming.

Now I live on several acres in the woods. The annual leaf cleanup still occurs, but I don't pick them up, I blow them into the woods. My back country road is 1 1/2 miles long and has 13 houses on it. No one would dare enter my property or any of my neighbor's like that. Not only might they meet their demise, but their remains would probably never be found.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

If Disney World is "The Happiest Place on Earth" Then.....

A Kommiecticut DMV office is the "Unhappiest Place on Earth." Let me explain.

First off, I don't believe this phenomena is exclusive to Kommiecticut, however it is the only state DMV I have ever dealt with personally. The place is steeped in abject misery; from customers and employees alike. Personally dealing with DMV employees can get them to smile and be friendly, but it is only reciprocated, not initiated. Also, as bad as it still is to get anything done there, it is better than it used to be. And it has never had anything to do with the competency of the people working behind the counter. The paperwork is onerous and confusing, the the fees and taxes are outrageous. Unless you are a car dealer with experience in automotive transactions, YOU ARE NOT going to get it done on a single trip. It once took me FOUR trips to DMV to possess and register a small utility trailer that I purchased from my Dad. Because I hold a CDL (Commercial Drivers License), I can not go to a AAA office to renew, I must go to a full service DMV office and get in line with the pimply-faced 16 year olds applying for their learner's permit.

An example; every transaction used to have to be paid via cash or paper check. No credit or debit cards, and there was an ATM located in each DMV office so you could get cash. Everything had to be done in person, but at least now there are a lot of on-line services offered. The entire culture of a DMV is of a peasant begging their overlords for the privilege of personal transportation. Where else do you go to get in line, just to get a number ticket to get in line? On one of those four trips to DMV for the trailer, the video displays showing the called numbers went blank. Everyone groaned. When they came back on, the displays showed about 25 numbers ahead of where they were. People like myself that had been waiting a couple of hours were now watching people that just came in getting called up to the windows. I thought there was going to be a riot. Angry customers were screaming at DMV employees while standing on chairs. I was there between customer visits and could not wait around anymore for the mess to get sorted out, so I left.

Tuesday was my first attempt to get our new fire department ambulance registered. This was going to be a plate transfer from our loaner ambulance to the new one. I was being paid to do this while on shift, so I wasn't concerned about wasting my personal time. This is a multi-step process because it is an ambulance, not just a passenger vehicle. There were no corporate officers available to do this task, so the very first thing I needed to have was Power of Attorney, which I still had from when I registered the loaner ambulance. In order to be an official ambulance in the eyes of the state; it has to be built by a qualified dealer, fully stocked and ready for transport, and a state inspector has to inspect the ambulance in person and give you the coveted R-195 form. Because we only have the one unit, we were out of service as of Monday after lunch so the dealer could uninstall/move/re-install the power stretcher assembly. Because it is unregistered it can't be driven, so the inspector has to come to your facility. Problem is; the state Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS) has just one inspector. That's right....for the entire state to inspect every ambulance that requires his services! By the way, he has only been on the job since May, because the long time inspector that really knew the ropes, retired. She had to come out of retirement to train the new guy. We took delivery on September 17th. The Chief contacted OEMS right away to set up the inspection. No response. He tried several more times, and only when he threatened (by email) to contact the commissioner did he get a response. The inspector showed up Tuesday morning October 2nd at 09:00 and finished the inspection by 10:30. I grabbed all the paperwork and headed for DMV. Needless to say, I was not successful, because the dealer not only had the wrong version of the form, he signed it in the wrong spot and never filled in his dealer info. Had it been proper, I would have been out of there in less than an hour from walking in the door. One thing Kommiecticut DMV does is let you go to the head of the line if you come back later in the same day. We could not locate the dealership signatory until after DMV closed, so it meant a trip back there Wednesday morning. The paperwork now seemed to be all in order ready to go.

Wednesday morning I came in at 06:00 as usual, and left to go to DMV just after I ate breakfast. DMV was scheduled to open at 07:45. I arrived at 07:20 and the line had already formed outside waiting for the doors to open. Sometimes the line is huge, but that morning there were only about 12 people ahead of me. They opened the doors 5 minutes early, I got my number, and went to hit the bathroom. By 07:48 my number got called and I went to the window. My lucky day....because I got the woman who is probably the most experienced clerk in that office. She was training a new employee which was good, because she was explaining each step as she did it, which mean nothing got skipped or overlooked. DMV has report cards for your experience, and as I always do, fill one out and give the highest marks for a smooth, successful, and pleasant transaction. I always put my name on it, and be sure to name the clerks as well. By 08:15 I was depositing the report card in the receptacle and walking out the door with a valid registration certificate.

For ambulance services and fire departments that have more than one ambulance, this is not a big deal to go through. They are still in service. For us and those like us, our communities suffer with having longer response times, while waiting for the state of Kommiecticut to get their shit together.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Pet Ownership - An Addendum

Although we have had a multitude of pets over the decades, it is only the dogs that we hold most dear. In fact, we still have them all. read that correctly. We still have them....all of them.

They have all been cremated, and their ashes reside on the bookshelf in our home office. The vet we use has a service provided by Inserv Corp. They not only dispose of unwanted animal remains from the practice, but for those of us pet owners willing to pay extra, provide full crematory services including urns and a last plaster paw print before cremation. For a dog that has been part of the family for so many years, $100 or so after they are gone isn't a lot to spend. The last two are in the oak picture frame boxes with a brass name plate that they offer. The others are all in the decorative tins they used to use as a standard.

The plan is to have all of us interred together, no scattering of ashes.

Monday, September 30, 2019

The Shitty Part of Pet Ownership

It is something I have dealt with many times in my life, and it never gets any easier. None of our dogs ever died a natural death on their own. They lived so good that their bodies failed before their spirit, and we had to take that final, tear filled trip to the vet. 

Here is my roll call:

Tiffany - Toy Poodle (*)
Sugar - Toy Poodle (*)
Jack - Rhodesian Ridgeback (*)
Sampson - Afghan Hound (2005)
Ody - Rhodesian Ridgeback (2011)
Ernie - Rhodesian Ridgeback (2018)

(*) Don't recall the year, definitely prior to 2000

Tiffany and Sugar were just so old they could no longer function (walk, eat properly, bladder/bowel control, etc.) and have a good quality of life. Jack had cancer, and when he stopped eating, that was the sign from him that it was time. Ridgebacks are extremely food driven, so for him to stop eating was a sure indication. He was also having a hard time breathing.

Sampson was damaged goods when we got him. A pet store puppy, the original owners were morons; bought him (for $1500!) brought him home, installed invisible fence, and slapped the shock collar on him with NO TRAINING. He learned quickly that if he took the initial whack from the shock collar, he was free. Then if he tried to come back, another thanks! He then went on to trespass and trash the neighborhood. Too many complaints and visits from authorities, prompted these idiots to just keep him inside their home, where he trashed the place. He completely destroyed a living room set including the coffee table. My wife was working at a veterinary hospital, where they brought in this unsocialized and undisciplined 4 month old puppy to be put to sleep. Luckily the vet hospital had a policy, that if you brought in such an animal, you signed away your rights, and the hospital would try to adopt it out. He came home with my wife and spent the rest of his life with us. He was never quite right in the head, and bit my wife and I a couple of times, but we knew the deal and he was better off with us. What ended his life however, was when he bit my 2 year old nephew in the face the weekend we moved into our brand new house. A two week mandatory in home quarantine, and once we got the OK from law enforcement, he was put down. It was our choice to have it done, but it was still sad. I totally blame the assholes that first got him for the entire situation.

Ody had cancer also. We treated the first bout, and he stayed healthy for a long time. When it came back, the treatment would have been stupid expensive with no guarantees. We decided to just let him live until he was done. When he went down the basement stairs to go outside the last time, collapsed and could not/would not get up, it was time.

Ernie hit me hard. We put him down on last December 15th. It was months before I was finally able to stop crying for him. My wife referred to him as my "heart dog," which is a dog that imprints on your soul. He was another "broken toy" when we got him. The breeder wanted to keep him and his sister as show dogs, but then hurt her knee and didn't do a single thing with the pups. They stayed in crates in her garage, and only came out to eat and go to the bathroom. When my wife brought home this adorable Ridgeback pup it was love! He was so pathetic....I could not walk across the kitchen because he only felt safe hiding between my legs. He had no idea how to go up and down stairs. Squeaky toys were scary. Because he was never socialized properly, greeting people was a problem. He would come at people barking and carrying on like a guard dog, but it was just all noise. The reward for him was the reaction of people. We would try to instruct people ahead of time to walk past him, ignore him like its your house, and in a few seconds it would be over. For those with the discipline to do this, it worked like a charm. People who pulled back or otherwise reacted anyway...well, you should have listened. My wife ran him in agility, and he got a few titles, but really wasn't into it. When he started to move up in class, it was apparent he was not going any further, so they quit. He loved to hike in the woods and was a cuddle-bug on the couch. Ernie had a lump in his neck. When it started to grow we knew it was not just a fatty tumor. The vet did a biopsy and confirmed cancer. She gave him four months without surgically removing it; very risky, maybe $10,000+, and a gain of an extra two years. Well....the dogs know best, because he lived almost two years after diagnosis without surgery. The lump grew large, made his breathing kind of noisy, and only when he began to not eat did we decide it was time. In his last couple of months he got tons of love and affection, and all the treats he wanted. I know, I am a big baby, because I shed a few tears typing the last paragraph.

So now I am facing this prospect again. My 14 1/4 year old Miniature Poodle Ty's kidneys are failing. He has no body fat and poor muscle tone. He drinks and pees a lot, but does not eat very good. But...that is really not a big deal, because sometimes he gobbles down a big meal. He tries to do things that he isn't capable of anymore, like running and diving off the stairs from the house into the garage, and landing spread eagle on the floor because of the poor muscle tone. He will still go out in the yard to chase his favorite stick (full of teeth marks, he has had it for years), but he has to see right where it lands, otherwise he can't find it. Some days I have him at the firehouse, which he loves. My fellow firefighters like him, and he goes in the crate when we have to go on a call. Otherwise, he just patrols the station, and when I take him out he likes to go on an adventure, not just a potty run. Either a romp in the field looking for whatever might be hiding in the grass, or the other way and down to the river. Later in the day while we are watching the evening news, he'll curl up on my lap and go to sleep. Since my wife didn't have to go in to work until 11:30 today, she left all the dogs home. I live close by, so I went home and let them all out at 3:30. They will be all set until I get home. Ty will be a tough read on when it will be time, unless something truly drastically medical happens to him

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

`Ello Puppet

I'm just going to leave this right here.

The real Greta Thunberg

Nothing but a little performer. But not like an actress that actually reads a script and learns her lines. This one has operatives working her mouth and pulling her strings. Feel free to ignore just like little David "Camera" Hogg.

Update 9-26-19: I had a thought that I posted in a comment on someone else's blog that I want to put here. I think she is extremely a cross between Joseph Goebbels and Wednesday Addams.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Nature's "Sky Hunter"

I dig Dragonflies. I always did. My Mom was absolutely petrified of them, and rightly so. As a young child she was told they were flying sewing needles that would stitch your mouth shut as you slept. The other variation on the legend I heard in later years was that it was true only if you told a lie. Regardless, Mom was damaged goods in that respect. During the summer months, my yard is full of them. Good sized ones too, flying back and forth over the back lawn catching and consuming plenty of insects. On a warm sunny afternoon, especially just after cutting the grass, I like to sit and watch them while sipping a cold adult beverage. Cutting the grass disturbs the smaller insects the Dragonflies desire, so they are even more active. When the wife and I go kayaking, they will hitch rides on the kayaks. There are several different and very colorful species on the waterways that I don't see in my yard. My wife is not like my Mom, she doesn't mind them at all.

A few years ago, we had a big BBQ picnic at my place. We used the garage to set up the tables for all the food and drinks. As it started to get dark out, I turned on the garage lights. I have a total of five, 8-foot long, high output, dual tube fluorescent light fixtures. A very large Dragonfly flew into the garage, and was promptly disoriented by the lights, banging into them quite loudly. I felt bad for it, and tried to get it out by catching it in a net I had, but could not get him. Then it hit me; he was attracted to the lights! I turned on my cell phone flashlight, and then shut off the garage lights. In just a few seconds, he flew down and landed on my hand right near the light. I walked him out of the garage and blew on him, and he flew away free. He did not return when we put the lights back on. Sometimes I find those really big ones in the firehouse apparatus bays, dead on the floor but in otherwise perfect condition. They must have gotten trapped inside and simply starved.

Last Friday the 20th, my wife and I went to The Eastern States Exposition, known locally as "The Big E." We arrived around 08:45 and stayed until after dark. We met my wife's brother and my sister-in-law there and spent the day with no kids. He was actually working there as a vendor supplier, but had several hours of freedom to hang out. He left to go make a delivery, while the three of us went to go watch a dog show called Mutts Gone Nuts. It's a fun show, so if you have the chance to see it, I recommend it. Talented pooches and talented trainers with all the performers being rescue dogs. While waiting in the stands for the show to start, this happened:

A Green Darner Dragonfly that decided my hand was a good place to relax in the sun.

This Dragonfly flew around us in the stands, and then landed on my hand. He sat there in the exact same position for almost 15 minutes, doing the behavior where it takes it front legs and looks like it's combing it's hair over the top of it's head. My sister-in-law was a little freaked out at first, but she took the picture. Another woman who sat down in front of us, noticed my little pet as she climbed up the bleachers and gave a combined look of surprise and fright, but she sat down anyway. When he finally had enough rest and took off, I decided to have a little fun with my sister-in-law, and told her he was now on top of her head. She was now freaked out again, not sure if I was jerking her chain or telling the truth. When I started laughing, she mouthed the word "asshole" at me, and then we all were laughing about it.

While I don't buy any of the human caused climate change bullshit, care where my meat comes from, or any of the other environmental wacko nonsense, I certainly do enjoy nature. It survives regardless of humans in some of the most unbelievable and adverse conditions and places. An interaction such as this is, to me, a treasure.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Pests and Predators Alike Will Be Shot

I raise chickens for eggs, and I suppose in a real SHTF emergency, I would slaughter and eat them sparingly. My chickens are healthy and believe me, quite happy as they get to free range all day in a secure fenced in area. At this time I have eight hens and a rooster. The hens don't set and I pick up the eggs every day, so they are not able to breed. I know people whose chicken flock is totally out of control and still growing. My rooster is there to protect and mange the flock, and he does a good job of it. He does crow in the morning, but only when the sun is up or the floodlights are on. His name is Randy, because as a young cockerel (no fighting spurs yet) he is quite the horn-dog. I don't care what goes on when I am not around, but in my presence (since I am the APLHA MALE) mating is not allowed. He gets a swift kick if I see him try to mount one of the girls. All my previous roosters eventually learned appropriate behavior. Chickens may be dumb animals, but they are not stupid and quite trainable.

I heard the following ridiculous story a couple of weeks ago, and right now the local radio program has an animal activist on complaining about factory farms, so it reminded me to post something about it.

Vegan Wackos Free Chickens, Smash Eggs, and Separate Roosters

Read the article and watch the videos of these loons for yourself. In Kommiecticut, an animal may be shot by the land owner if harassing live stock. Come on my land and mess with my property (meaning livestock) and you too can die instantly of lead poisoning.

Wings of Freedom Tour

I have always wanted to attend one of these but somehow missed out. Last weekend I took my bike all the way down to Quonset Point Rhode Island to see them. But like a dope, I assumed they were going to be there without checking the schedule. They had left the night before for their next stop. Oh well, it was a beautiful day for a ride, and I got to step foot on some hallowed ground of sorts, the old Quonset Point Naval Air Station where my dad served until the USS Bennington explosion in 1954.

This weekend, they were scheduled to be at Worcester Airport in Worcester, MA. I thought my weekend was too full of other things to do to be able to attend. It turned out, Sunday was pretty open by mid-morning so off I went. I took mostly back roads up to the airport because it is on the western outskirts of town. A fabulous ride with lots of fellow bikers out on the road as well. I got to the airport, paid my admission fee ($15, but the guy taking money had no change. I told him to keep the $5 as an extra donation) and headed out to see these awesome war-birds. On the flight-line was a B-17, a B-24 Liberator (the only one still flying), a B-25J Mitchell, a P-40, a P-38, a P-51 Mustang, an F6F Hellcat, and then an A1-E Skyraider showed up. I go to see the smaller planes up close, and do a walk through of the B-17 and B-24. They offered rides in some of the planes....not cheap. $450 for a 30 minute flight in the B-17 and B-24. $400 for the B-25, and a whopping $2400 for the P-51 Mustang, with the option of a 60 minute flight that included instruction and taking the controls. Yikes...but there were people in line to go up.

I decided that since it took so many years for me to get to one of these events, I was going up in one of these planes. The B-17 was booked solid for the day. The B-24 had seats available, but much later in the afternoon than I wanted to stay. The B-25 was a "demand flight" plane, meaning they would add flights if there was demand. When I inquired about it, they added a 3PM flight with my name at the top of the list. That meant I had first choice of seat, and I scored one of the two front passenger seats. More on that and about the flight later. Although not my first choice of flight, I was happy I took the B-25 ride. Here's why.

First off, history......."The Doolittle Raid". Carrier launched B-25's sent on a one-way trip that were able to bomb Tokyo. That struck a huge psychological blow to the fanatical Japanese who thought that mainland Japan was untouchable. The last of the Doolittle Raiders, Lt. Col Richard "Dick" Cole passed away on April 9, 2019 at age 103.

On Saturday July 20th, I did a Patriot Guard mission in Marlborough, MA for TSgt Alfred Sandini. His B-25 was shot down over French-Indochina by Japanese anti-aircraft in 1944, killing him and his entire crew. The wreckage was found and the unidentifiable bodies were recovered in 1949, placed in storage, and remained there until this past June. DNA technology finally reached the point where their bodies could be positively identified, and permanently laid to rest. I felt that by flying in a B-25, even for such a short time, I could gain a personal and better appreciation for what these brave men did. This is not the first time I tried to experience something from WWII. After I watched Band of Brothers (the episode covering The Battle of The Bulge) I took my M1Garand rifle to the range in the dead of winter on a very cold and snowy afternoon. There was no one else there, and my hands were so frozen I had great difficulty loading and operating my rifle. I was able to go home after a couple of unpleasant hours, unlike the men of Easy Company who only had each other in their foxholes for warmth.

Wings of Freedom B-25J Mitchell "Tondelayo" on the flight line at Worcester Airport on 9-22-19
Now, on the pre-flight briefings they warn you; these planes were built for combat, not comfort. They are cramped, have no environmental controls, are louder than anything, and one wrong move can disable the aircraft or seriously injure (or kill) you. I sat in a metal frame canvas covered seat with a lap belt, and that was it. Next to me was a large square electrical distribution box. If the aircraft pitched hard to the right, or even landed hard and I wasn't paying attention, I would have busted my head or face wide open.

Port side: "Tondelayo" nose art and score card. 10 Jap planes, a freighter, and 14 bombing missions

Starboard side: Close up of that nose art topless hottie!
Some of the things they told us about flying in these planes was amazing. First, no heat; -35 below zero (or colder) at altitude and the crew wore electrically powered insulated flight suits. Yesterday was bright, sunny and very hot on the flight line. Imagine waiting your turn to take off broiling in your suit, only to be freezing your ass off less than an hour later. Next, no pressurized cabins. At 13,000 feet and above, all crew members were on oxygen. No modern navigation; using charts and compass where there were no radio beacons, like over enemy territory. No auto pilot and no "fly-by-wire"; all flight controls were cable and pulley with some hydraulics. You worked to keep that plane flying the whole time. Small cramped spaces; on the B-17 and B-24, the belly gunners must have been the size of horse racing jockeys to fit through the hatch and squeeze into the seat. On the B-25 small passages to squeeze through.

The hatch to the B-17 belly gunner ball turret. Approximately 14" x 20"

Not a place for anyone like me. I might get in, but getting out requires a lot of Crisco

In the video below, I panned around the area we were seated in, and briefly show the tunnel under the cockpit for the nose gunner/bombardier. The rest of the video is pre-flight and engine startup, with the starboard engine first. The port engine didn't start right away because the pilot did something out of sequence (you hear him make a disgusted sound at  his error). At 5'8" and 210 pounds, I had a bitch of a time getting up to the nose, and a little easier getting back. There was plenty of room in the nose for both of us passengers, and since I was first, I got the seat. The other guy knelt on the floor at mouth of the tunnel. The purpose of those two seats behind the pilots was one guy up front in the nose, and the other individual would have operated the machine gun turret that was right above our heads.
As front passengers, we were told not to attempt to go to the back of the plane, and the rear passengers told not to try to get up front. There is a very small tunnel over the bomb bay to do that, but we were not allowed in it.

The flight took off and leveled out at 1500 feet, and the crew gave us the signal we could unbuckle and move forward. They provided hearing protection muffs which we gladly wore. I peeked an ear out at one point and could not imagine not wearing some type of hearing protection. The view from the nose was spectacular. Our flight path took us over the Quabbin Reservoir.

The starboard engine looking back from the nose. The cell phone camera distorts the prop blades

The view straight out over the .50 cal M2

The pilot started banking as I was shooting, so I quickly turned my camera even with the horizon for better perspective. Our signal to move back to our seats and buckle up was the "bail out bell." I never heard it, but the other guy did. Unfortunately, the flight was over far too quickly. The glide slope was pretty good, since the engines were at idle while we landed. Once we disembarked, we had to make haste to clear the flight line, because it was time to roll out the B-17 and B-24 for their flights. I would have liked to stay and watch, but I was hot and kinda pooped.

Expensive sure, but since I didn't go away on vacation this year this makes up for it. Then I got to ride my motorcycle home, so BONUS!