Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What a wake-up!

I woke up this morning and clicked my email while waiting for the coffee to brew.

First there was an email from another ham in Fiji that wanted to help me out and work me. I don't have Fiji and the email was three minutes old. I got STRAIGHT on the air on 40 meters. No luck.

Just then another email popped in from Japan. It was a young female Japanese ham and she confirmed that I had worked her in the Marshall Islands a few days ago. Good news there!

It was a set of freakish circumstances when we worked. I threw out my call, and when she returned it I got walked on. I tried again, and got walked on again. The third try I caught a 9NN signal report but I couldn't hear my call being returned. I was going to try again but the band went dead because of some kind of interference.

I wrote it off as a bad job but logged it with a question mark next to it. Then I decided to email her. She didn't have email in the Marshalls but when she got back to Japan she got my email and said I was in her log so I scratched out the question mark on my log entry and sent her my card, $3 and an SAE. I'll have the Marshalls confirmed soon.

I had just finished with her and the guy in Fiji emailed me again. He was going up to 20 meters and I chased him up there. No luck.

Then ANOTHER email popped up and it was a guy in the Slovak Republic. He's the QSL manager for a South Sudan operator. It was a heads up that he had received my request for a QSL card from South Sudan. I guess he'll send it out in a couple of days if not this afternoon.

After that I got on line and checked a Zimbabwe station's log to see if I am on it. I'm not. I made a bona fide contact yesterday, voice, on the 20 meter band but I think he busted my call sign. This happens from time to time with DXpeditions as the operators are taking in thousands of calls a day and are really pushing things mentally. How they do it is beyond me. I can't work a pileup  for sour apples. I guess I'll just have to work Zimbabwe again...if the Propagation Gods will it.

Later this afternoon I have to reload a couple hundred cases for an upcoming rifle match. 

In an hour I have some plumbing to do and deal with an electrolysis problem. I see a headache of sorts coming with that one. A lazy electrician grounded the panel to a cold water pipe instead of a ground rod and I likely have to hammer a rod in with a jackhammer. 

There is some kind of stray current I have to chase down and deal with or else the pipes will get holes in them again. Ouch!

You watch, though. By 1300 the day will come to a crashing halt and slow down to nothing as it often does in the afternoon. Maybe then I'll have time to chase Zimbabwe and Tuvalu. If I can bag both of those (and get confirmation) it looks like I can put this project to bed. 

Wow! I just finished my first cup (of two) of coffee!

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

I was right.

Both DXpeditions have me in their logs.

Niue and Market Reef have me in their logs and I have requested QSL cards from both. In a couple of months I will have these two confirmed and scratched off of the list.

I have 200 logged. It's really 201 but Kosovo doesn't count. Of these 201 I have about 195 confirmed. I see three confirming which means I have to either work or rework a couple of entities.

The way to do that I suppose is look around on line for upcoming DXpeditions and email the expeditioners to keep their ears open.


I just heard an old classmate cashed in his chips. He died in a fire which doesn't seem like a very good way to go if you ask me.

I remember him well. He was a charismatic character that was somewhat of a bored kid in high school and therefore was always in trouble. He was one of those guys that wore his hair in a grease cut instead of a Beatle haircut like the Dedicated Followers of Fashion.

In a school wide act of rebelliousness we elected him to be our Good Government Day representative much to the chagrin of the administration. Personally I think the administration wasn't above stuffing the ballot box to keep him out but they knew the landslide was too great. Had they tried it there would have been a general mutiny.

What REALLY galled the hell out of the administration is that when he got to the Good Government Day program he burned up the lead and showed a lot of leadership. The people there commented on the spectacular job he did. The administration announced it on the PA system and the entire student body cheered.

One of the high points was when at an assembly of the entire student body the vice principal had to call him up and shake his hand. He looked like a guy that was going to be dipped into a vat of raw sewage when he did. I do believe he truly hated the kid. 

Anyway, he's gone, at age 65 and I have one regret that I didn't look him up the last time I was home. I would have gotten a kick out of talking to him and getting the inside story 46 years after the fact.

Incidentally they say the truth always seems to come out. The term VICE principal fitted that guy as he knocked up not one, but two teachers. I guess they let the first one slide because he married her but according to another now dead classmate, when he knocked up the second teacher the school committee decided to give him the axe.

Anyway, I have a few things to do today and one of them is some more plumbing. I didn't try and force the entire project over the course of a long day just to get it over with. I broke it into thirds which means I was fresh when I started and wasn't trying to rush through it. I think it makes for a better job.

Incidentally the reason I had to replumb the copper was because of electrolysis. There is some stray current of some sort running through the plumbing and I'm going to try and trace and eliminate it.

I can see where the electrician cheaped out when the place was built and grounded the panel to the nearest cold water pipe. I'll put in a ground rod outside to eliminate that part. I'll also install an electrical jumper over the ball valve on the hot water heater.


Anyway, my day is planned.

Oh, yeah. Mister Groundhog just popped up. I'd like to take him out but I suppose the tree hugger down the street would raise holy hell if she heard the shot. Right now it would be a safe shot, too.

He's up against the hill and the bullet would go through him and into the soft earth behind him.

Oh, well.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Monday, September 28, 2015

Bagged another one for certain

I now have 200 DX entities logged (201 if you count Kosovo which isn't an ARRL DXCC entity because of a piece of paper)

I think now I have 193 confirmed and the likelihood of at least three or four more confirming inside the next couple of months.

Niue will post their log on line inside a day or two and I do believe I am on it. We'll see.

I'd like to put this project to bed.

One of the things I have to buckle down and do is to learn to read code at a MUCH faster rate. A lot of the DXpeditions have terrible voice pileups which are a bitch to get through. the CW pileups are nowhere near as bad.

Also CW will get through when nothing else will. 

The Niue DXpedition people worked CW almost exclusively and then near the end got decent propagation and went on the air with voice. I bagged them on 15 meter voice.

I also THINK I bagged them on 10, 12, and 15 meters CW but I'm not very sure. They really didn't slow down for me and I really can't be too sure they got my call sign correctly. 

I can see their point. They are trying to get as many QSOs as possible and really can't slow down for one newbie. I was on my own to read my call sign and whatever speed they were sending at which was FAST.

In three days I got 3 confirmations in the mail. Azerbaijan, Mauritius Island and Taiwan  all sent me QSL cards. When it rains, it pours.  

Yesterday I was Joe the plumber as electrolysis caused a couple pinholes in the plumbing. I've got more to do and it is raining today so maybe I'll finish up this afternoon. 

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Sunday, September 27, 2015

I probably ought to be in jail today

Yesterday when I went shopping I taught somebody a few manners.

NOBODY sits there blowing their horn at an elderly person having a hard time crossing the lane to their car and gets away with it if I can help it.

This guy was blowing his horn at an elderly man crossing the lane in the parking lot headed back to his car. He was slow and doing the best he could and this punk started giving him a hard time.

No details except to say that no weapons were involved and nobody got hurt. 

It was funny watching the 20 something kid turn ashen when I confronted him. I don't think he'll pull that stunt again.

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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Someone asked me for a good 1000 yard match 7.62 NATO load and here's where I'd start.

From Wikipedia:

Cartridge, Caliber 7.62mm Special Ball, Long Range, MK 316 MOD 0 (United States): A 175-grain (11.3 g) round specifically designed for long-range sniping consisting of Sierra MatchKing Hollow Point Boat Tail projectiles, Federal Cartridge Company match cartridge cases and Gold Medal Match primers. The Propellant has been verified as IMR 4064 (per NSN 1305-01-567-6944 and Federal Cartridge Company Contract/Order Number N0016408DJN28 and has a charge weight per the specs of 41.745-grain (2.7 g).[15] "

In short, the recipe is a 175 Sierra pushed my 41.745 grains of IMR 4064 and lit off with a Federal Gold medal primer. Load it in a Federal match case.

Can it be tuned up for a specific rifle? Of course, but it's a pretty good starting point.

A 1000 yard load seems to be simple except for the fact that the Sierra 168 grain Match King will go subsonic before it hits 1000 yards at normal pressures.

The two choices I see using Sierra bullets are to either get a 175 moving fast enough or drop down to a 155 grain Sierra Palma and get it moving fast.

The 175 grain Sierra most likely tends to be effected by wind less so that's where I'd start.

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Friday, September 25, 2015

The Pope has arrived!

and I really do not see much of an upside to it.

I wish His Holiness had stayed in Rome for all the trouble it seems to be causing. One can not get a room in Philly and the advisory signs on the entire length of the PA turnpike say that one should hunt for a secondary route.

It's a good thing I don't have to commute back and forth for a while or I'd be screwed.

Right now I am no big fan of Pope Francis. He's had too much of a socialist background and is trying to palm socialism off on us. It doesn't work. He also said that the Declaration of Independence is outdated. What horse shit!

He babbles about the poor and outside of CONUS his word may certainly hold water but he truth is there really are not a whole lot of poor people in this country. At least if you look at what poor really is. If you want to see poor then go to Africa or South America.

Over the years I have considered a lot of religious leaders to be a pain in the ass and not conducive to freedom. Pope Francis just seems to have made it to the list of religious leaders that I consider not conducive to freedom.

Right now we have a large number of Muslims that are supportive of administering Sharia law in this country. If you want Sharia law go somewhere else.

Many of the Christian community are not a whole lot better. For decades they have tried to add their religious values to our laws. The Republican party jumped in bed with the Christian coalition and American conservatism has suffered as a direct result of it. 

The Republican party now has a reputation (well deserved) as being the moral police. Women's rights have suffered as a result of it. The gay community has had to fight the Republicans tooth and nail for their rights. Why? Because the Republican party hopped into bed with the Christian coalition and started letting them force their idea of morality on us. (The Dems are no better but it's another subject)

As far as I'm concerned, when a church steps out from behind the pulpit and enters the political arena they ought to lose their tax-exempt status. They want into the political system, then they can pay taxes just like everyone else.

I daresay that if the Catholic Church was in danger of losing its tax-exempt status then Pope Francis would sure change his tune. He's be here leading Catholics instead of sticking his nose in the business of our government.

Pope Francis is demanding we change our ways and he simply has no right to. We're the Untied States of America and not a subsidy of the Catholic Church. Right now he's being just like the Islamist types that are demanding Sharia law. Beat it. Go back to Rome and lead the Catholic Church, and ONLY the Catholic Church.

Before you start running your mouth and start calling me anti-Catholic, you might take a look at the dogtag around my neck.

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Sometimes things don't get forgotten.

A couple of years ago when Prince William married Kate Upton I was doing some planting outside. The wedding was going on and from time to time I'd go inside and watch a bit of it.

Anyway, later on that day one of the neighbors was passing and stopped. She saw me and asked me if I had watched the wedding.

"Yeah," I replied. "Larry the Cable Guy was sitting next to Prince Andrew. He sure cleans up pretty good."

"Larry the Cable Guy?" she asked incredulously.

"He's big in the U.K." I said. "They love him there."


"You didn't know that?" I replied.

Later that night she and her husband had another couple drop by and she said that Larry the Cable Guy was sitting next to Prince Andrew at the wedding. She made somewhat of a fool of herself but she's a good sport and never held it against me.

Last evening I was talking to her husband and someone pulled up next to us on the curb. My neighbor introduced me to the guy that had pulled up.

"This is Piccolo. He's the guy that told Lois that Larry the Cable Guy was sitting next to Prince Andrew at the royal wedding. Remember that?"

While this isn't too bad, it does serve as a reminder that your past will often come up to haunt you.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

One of the things I do as a ham is

 try and give an accurate signal report.
On phone (voice) there are two numbers. The first one is voice clarity in a scale of 1-5. Five is as clear as a conversation across a table and 1 in unintelligible. Two is readable, but barely. Three and four are in between.

The second number is the strength of the signal itself, generally read off of the transceiver's S-meter. It can run from S-0 to S-9. Above S-9 it can range from 10 to 40 decibels over S-9.

A signal report sound something like this: "You are a 5 by six." This means he is clear as a bell and it registering 6 on the s-meter.

During pileups and on most DXpeditions or contests where the operator is fielding as many calls as possible he generally gives everyone a pro forma 5x9 and calls it good. 

Some operators do this too but I don't. A few operators simply give you yours back and call it good.

What I do is give an honest signal report. I suppose a few guys with super stations may get a bent nose hearing that their report is less than 5x9 but that's the way the cookies crumble.

When I do give a 5x9 I usually follow it with the word 'actual', meaning it is actually a 5x9 instead of a pro forma 5x9 I gave him just to fill in his log.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

I was going to make a post about living on an island

. I have lived on islands for over a decade in my life and remember a few frustrations.

The merchants seemed to have somewhat of a monopoly on goods which sort of sucked. You couldn't hop in your vehicle and crack it wide open on the highway and head off into the sunset. A weekend road trip to Vegas was out of the question.

The Rolling Stones were not very likely to show up for a concert.

Still, all in all it wasn't too bad.

THere was a lot of island spirit and most people tended to help one another out. 
Elected officials tended to be more in touch wth the regular guy simply because there were no places for them to hide. I remember having a beer with the mayor a couple of times. I once said something that made him think a bit.

On Kodiak at the time there were (and probably still are) a number of transients. Many of these ar really not transients, but have been there for years and were living in an alternative lifestyle. Truth is, I fit into this category.

The subject of transients came up and I looked at him and pointed out that all these people paid taxes in one form or another. I also pointed out that a pretty large percentage were registered voters and there were enough of them to sway an election.

He looked thoughtful when I said that. Then he asked me about myself and I told him who I was and the fact that I lived in a camper and moved about the island frequently.

I pointed out that I had registered to vote to be able to have a say in what went on in my town. I also added, "As have a lot of us."

Being an elected official, that got his attention.

While there were a lot of drawbacks to island life, getting face to face with local elected officials wasn't one of them.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Monday, September 21, 2015

Over the years I have taken a few part time jobs.

They always seem to end up the same way. I leave and the people that hired me are standing there agape wondering what happened. Apparently there are a lot of people in Pittsburgh that can't count.

I have always been up front about my status when I get hired. I make it perfectly clear that this is a part time gig just for chump change and I have no intent of quitting my regular job. I carefully explain that I am making an awful lot more money at sea than I am working ashore to the person that hires me.

At my reguar job I generally work a three weeks on, three weeks off cycle. Crew changes are generally in the middle of the week. When I get home I would tke a couple days off and start the first Monday. 

By the end of the week the headaches and pressure would start. "This is a pretty good job, huh? Interested in doing this full time?" 

Oh, Lord. Here it comes again.

"I'm not giving up my full-time job," I'd answer. "Truth is you can't afford to pay me what I am making out there."

"Well, what would it take you to stay?" They'd ask.

I tell them and they get offended. Generally I bring a paycheck stub with me when they look offended. They see it and they look astonished and hurt.

Come the following Friday I'd remind them I was going back to my regular job and they wold get all pouty faced and tell me they're looking for a full-timer. I'd take that as being my walking papers and the part-time job would end then and there. I wouldn't call them when I got back to town. Why bother?

I can't for the life of me figure out why people can't listen or count. I would be up front with them and they wouldn't listen or didn't want to listen. It was really quite simple. I was looking for part-time work, Not a career. I already have a career.

This is why I never take any offers for part-time work when I am off for my shore leave. I wind up dealing with stupid and you can't fix stupid.

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Sunday, September 20, 2015

Ask me what time it is and you'll generally get it dead on.

Not 'cell phone time' or 1-800 time time or what someone's computer says, but the time from the Atomic clock in Fort Collins, Colorado.

The same time that they use for celestial navigation, GPS, the space shuttle and anything that requires truly accurate time.

If you have a short wave receiver you can get it from a number of places.

CHU Canada sends out time ticks on 3.300, 7.335 and 14.670 Mhz. I believe they are using Eastern Standard Time there.

WWV in Fort Collins, Colorado sends time ticks out on 2.500, 5.000, 10.000, 15.000 and 20.000 Mhz. They are using UTC, Universal TIme Co-ordinated. I believe this was formerly known as Greenwich Mean TIme but maybe I am wrong.

I hack my watch on WWV every so often and try to keep up with it. I suppose I do this for the simple reason that I can shoot down excuses for not being on time.

I helped a friend fight a parking ticket with this once. He had parked in one of those lanes that you can't park in between 4 and 7 PM because it becomes a lane during rush hour.

We were both downtown and arrived at 3:58 to find a ticket on the car. We cleared the parking space by 3:59 therefore we were legal. I guess some cop or meter maid jumped the gun.

We took the ticket to the magistrate and I fought it. Some say It was my finest hour. It wasn't even my ticket to be honest, it was my friends. 

I set up a portable receiver, tuned it to WWV and showed the judge how the thing worked and explained that it was the same time used by GPS, navigators, NASA, and listed about a dozen more people that use the time established by the National Institute of Standards.

Then I got somewhat dramatic and said that this was more than a parking ticket. I said that with his decision the judge was going to decide if we are using the time set by the NIST or if we were going to have to reset everything (and I included a long, long list here) to revolve around the $15 K-Mart watch of a Pittsburgh police officer.

The policeman there that represented the department was sitting there cringing.

I was still in mid-rant when the judge dismissed the case. I looked up at him and said, "But Your Honor! I was just getting to the good part!"

He outright laughed and said if he ever met me somewhere he'd love to hear the rest of it some other time. I think he dismissed the case when he did out of compassion for the poor cop tht was trying to slither under the table and disappear.

Anyway, Realistic (Radio Shack) used to sell time cubes tat were preset to the WWV frequencies. I have not seen them in years. I just searched eBay and they run about $40-50 in the vintage electronics department. I suppose if I would have snagged one for $20 or less I would have grabbed it.

Still, having the right time is a good thing to have. It tends to give a person a little bit more confidence for some reason or another.

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Saturday, September 19, 2015

The other day I saw a guy set up a nailer

 to drive two 8d nails. 

He ran the hose out, loaded the nailer, waited for the compressor to fill up and shot two nails. Then he coiled up the hose, emptied the compressor and put everything away.

I can't figure for the life of me why he didn't simply just grab a hammer, drive the nails and be done with it. Then again he may be like a lieutenant I saw once in the army.

The supply sergeant had a wood handled hammer and some wag sp/4 cut the female end off of a zip cord extension cord. He then drilled a hole in the base of the wooden handle and epoxied the end of the extension cord into it. Volia! Instant electric hammer.

Enter the lieutanant who needed a hammer to nail two boards together.  The Sp/4 handed the lieutenant the hammer and pointed to the electrical outlet. The lieutenant plugged the thing in and nailed the boards together.

Needless to say everyone kept their mouth shut and watched the young lieutenant nail the board together. When he was done he unplugged it and handed it back.

As he was handing the hammer back he blushed and said to the SP/4, "I guess I just made a fool of myself, didn't I?"

"Yes, Sir, you did," replied the specialist.

This guy that went and set up the compressor for two nails reminds me of the lieutenant.

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Friday, September 18, 2015

Here's an interesting read.

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

I have noticed that the military elites

seem to get an undue amount of attention. A lot of people forget that not everyone is a SEAL, Green Beret or Ranger.

While some of this is fair. They busted their asses to get into elite units. Still, one has to remember that an awful lot of casualties are non-elite troops.

Any unit has guys in it that are people like clerks, service and logistics guys. These people also serve and take casualties.

You would think that being a truck driver is a safe enough job but it isn't. Truck drivers move people and supplies through places that are not necessarily secure and a number of them have been lost when the supply convoy gets hit.

They die and become just as dead as a SEAL, Ranger or Paratrooper does when he gets killed.

A lot of people wonder about the women in the service. They get torn up, too. Recently I saw a picture of several amputee women that have been combat casualties. None of them are fighting elites. Yet women have died in combat and are just as dead as anyone else.

Just something to think about.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

I really didn't do very well at Camp Perry

 this past summer but I did have a lot of fun. I enjoyed spending the early part of one evening tipping a few beers with some of the guys on one of the service teams. A few of them were not scheduled to shoot the next day so they kicked back and told an old man a couple of sea stories.

Of course, I told them about the Air Assault course back in the day. It was kind of like being in the old horse cavalry except every trooper was issued a ptarodactyl instead of a horse to carry them into battle with.

One of them asked me about jump school and I told him that when I was in the army they had actually just started issuing  parachutes. A very senior NCO probably heard it in the background. I saw him stop and think a second. Then he turned toward me and smirked.

I can be very dead pan and when I say something like that it often takes a second or two for people to figure it out.

Summer is over now as it is Labor Day tomorrow and it's time to get ready to do a few things to get ready for Old Man Winter. It's about this time of year I take a few minutes to reflect on what I have done over the summer. I had a good time at Camp Perry.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

I see where the State of California

 is going to be issuing high school diplomas to a bunch of people that have flunked the pre-graduation test.

As usual, when in doubt lower the standards. This is really not anything new because I was very unmotivated in high school and looking back on it I think a couple of my grades got upped to get rid of me.

Granted, I taught myself things like celestial navigation (I'm rusty now) and a bunch of other things but I think I was probably whisked through. I digress.

Recently a pair of women graduated from Ranger school and by all accounts I have heard (including a former instructor, recently retired with no reason to lie) they did it honestly. They met the standards. 

Fact is the women MET THE STANDARDS. The standards were not lowered. I have no problem with that whatsoever.

A person graduating from high school should have a certain level of education and a standard that employers can rely on. Employers often put a lot of stock in a person's education. They feel that it is an indication of what they can expect from someone they are hiring.

They expect that someone with a high school diploma can read and write at a certain level. They expect that they can count and figure a few things out. (An awful lot of people in very high places should be sent back to high school and learn to count. They will find out that you can't spend more than you take in successfully. I digress.)

While I realize the standards of a high school graduate may vary from state to state, or even county to county, the state or municipality should set a standard and either hold with it, or raise it. Lowering a standard should not be an option.

One of the things that a geographical area seems to be judged by is the dropout/flunkout rate. It's really a double sided standard. While a big part of it is certainly socio-economic, another part of it is how well the standards are adhered to.

It strikes me that a high dropout rate in a lower socio-economic area is indicitive not of the ability of the residents but of the stoock they put in formal education. If the locals don't see the need for an education they tend to drop out.

On the other hand, in a higher socio-economic area a higher flunkout rate may be indicitave that the school has opted to adhere to a certain level of education before issuing a diploma. This is not a bad thing as it means that the holder of a diploma can be expected to have a certain level of education.

In my opinion the dropout rate is more indicitave of the socio-economic area of the school. Lowering the standards is not the answer because society as a whole loses. Schools should simply set and hold a standard and let the dropout rate fall where it may.

A lot of people point out that dropping out is an indictor of future failure and to some extent they are right. They worry about the lack of a diploma being a ticket toward failure. To some extent they are right again.

Still, lowering the standards is not the answer. Holding a set standard is a lot closer to the truth as it gives prospective employers something to work with in hiring.

Of course, in come the liberals that want to give everything away. They say that a high school diploma is necessary to raise the poor out of poverty. This holds a certain amount of water. They run on and on about how hard poverty is to overcome. The truth is that it isn't as hard as liberals claim. All one has to do is apply themselves and use their talents.

A basic K-12 education in this country is free. If someone doesn't take advantage of it it is not our problem. You can drive a horse to water but you can't make him drink. There are not a whole lot of excuses for not getting a high school education.

I have also heard that in Tennessee that two years of community college are free. Community colleges are great places to learn a skill and they work with their students. There's little excuse for a rasonably intelligent Tennessee resident not to enter the work force with a marketable skill of some sort.

The tools for reasonable success are there and if the schools would stop worrying about the dropout rate and worry about holding a standard everyone would be better off.

We used to lead the world in education but we have decided to lower our standards. We're paying for this one.

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Monday, September 14, 2015

Tourism in Africa.

There was an article in the New York Times mentioning that in Botswana they have suspended big game hunting and now a village is overrun with elephants and lions and unemployment has skyrocketed. Not surprising.

Someone suggested tourism and for the life of me it reminded me of a movie I'd like to see, The Last Remake of King Kong. Of course, the movie hasn't been made yet anywhere but in my fertile mind.

Anyway, I can picture the goings-on in the village as they enter the tourist trade. A village elder glances at his watch, puts out a Marlboro and shouts "Places! Costumes!" and the villagers, presently clad in shorts and T-shirts, scurry around and return dressed in grass skirts ala the Original King Kong scene on Skull Island.

Someone dumps a quart of gasoline on a pile of wood, strikes a match and flames leap skyward as the locals all start dancing around it chanting something that sound like something out of a Tarzan movie villager scene.

Out of the bus the tourists appear with cameras hung around their necks. One tourist approaches a grass skirt clad villager, who in real life has a Master's in physics. "Hold it! Smile!" Click goes the shutter.

A couple hours later the bus leaves, the villagers change back into their comfortable clothing and business as usual returns.

I have lived in a tourist town, Ketchikan, Alaska and at times it was a zoo. I have seen Native Americans get the "Holdit, Injun! Smile!" treatment by an ignorant tourist.

I remember a tourist asking a Native American kid, "Are you an Indian?"

"Yes, Ma'am," he replied with a tired voice.

"I see," said the tourist. "And how long have you been an Indian?"

I interrupted. "He used to be a Chicano but enrolled at the Custer Memorial Indian School and took courses to become an Indian. I believe he graduated and became one last year." I winked at the Indian kid who gave me the deadpan look that belies an awful lot of dry Native American humor. 

The tourist blushed and stormed off. 

Later a couple Native Americans the kid told the story to bought me a drink. 

While a lot of people promote tourism as a way of making a living, it is not all it is cracked up to be. It's also very, very dependent on the economy. Generally when the economy takes a drop the first thing to go seems to be the family vacation or cruise. It also hurts the quality of life of the locality.

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Sunday, September 13, 2015

I read where the people at USMA, West Point

 had their annual pillow fight and a couple of cadets got banged up. Apparently a few of them stuffed hard objects in with their pillows.

While I suppose there ought to be penalty markers thrown for that one. If the catch the cadets that did do such a thing there ought to be some sort of disciplinary action taken. It should end there.

Over the yers there have been a number of service traditions that have been ruined by the media in their never ending hunt for sensationalism.

King Neptune's Court on Naval vessels seems to have dropped off to nothing more than a hokey little thing. King Neptune's Court is where the Order of the Shellback is awarded for crossing the equator. First time equator crossers of all ranks traditionally face King Neptune and his court. Generally the court and ceremony is performed by enlisted men. 

It is interesting to note that one serving president didn't get off the hook and had to face King Neptune.

President Harry S. Truman faced King Neptune's court and became a shellback back in 1947 aboard USS Missouri.

My favorite story is when then colonel Marine Icon Chesty Puller, who was already a shellback at the time, was standing next to a general that was undergoing the rite of passage.

The general was ordered to 'kiss the baby's belly'. The baby was the biggest Chief petty officer on the boat clad in a makeshift diaper.

The general turned to Puller and asked him if he really had to kiss the baby's belly.

"Quick, sir! Before they turn the baby over," replied Puller. 

Of course, somewhere along the line someone's mother heard about it and the media ran with it. As usual they deemed it harrassment or sexist or violent or some damned thing and the Navy kind of toned it down to a nothing ceremony.

Since George Washington camped at Valley Forge service people have done dopey things of of traditon. For the most part they have just been plain fun and serve to bring the troops together.

I had a scout leader that had his Order of the Shellback certificate prominently displayed in his living room. It was something that he was proud of. One time when I was older, maybe in my 40s he and I met and he told me about the ceremony. The story was hilarious.

As a scout I overheard him talking to another boy's dad about wartime Naval service and one of the first things they shared was where they faced King Neptune's court. Both had served in the Pacific.

Other service customs such as blood wings, pinning on or wetting down of stripes on promotion and the like have all but disappeared or gone underground. It's a shame, really.

Anyway, I get sick and tired of hearing about the media making a big thing out of nothing at the exense of the service people. Often times the job is hard and frustrating enough and needs a little help.

These little things that seem to be being taken away from the service people are or in many cases were just the dumb little things that made life in the military just a little more bearable.

I just wish the media would leave them alone for a change.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Here's something Andrea Shea King wrote a while back

It is an interesting read.

I'll add that the only form of long distance communication that needs no infrastructure is ham radio. It needs nothing but a radio and an operator.

I suppose the government can try and outlaw it but if they do it simply means that operators become outlaws and therefore are not subject to any rules and regulations.

The minute it becomes outlawed it means that operators don't have to operate inside specific ham bands, can encrypt messages and pretty much do as they want.

Of course, the fixed station becomes obsolete but an awful lot of now lawful operators enjoy portable and mobile operations. 

Ham radio is often thought of as being horribly expensive but I put a decent station together for about $1600 that has gotten me all over the world with ease. I am close to logging 200 entities worldwide now with this setup. I bought everything brand new. I could have gotten by for half of what I spent or even much less if I shopped around or went into the used market. 

My portable rig was less than half that and I can set it up in seconds just about anywhere, shoot off or receive a message and be gone. I have worked every state in the Union with this rig and an awful lot of DX.

Just something to think about.

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Friday, September 11, 2015

It has been pointed out to me

 that my cell phone has a GPS unit built in. It tracks me if anyone wants to.

The next time I decide to rob the 73rd National Bank of East Muleshoe, Idaho I think I'll just drop my cell phone in my wife's handbag and send her shopping.

Then again, I suppose I could take some gum and stick it to the bottom of the third stool at Clancy's Saloon.

This reminds me of the best alibi I ever had for anything.

One time I arrived home to Kodiak late and found my trailer was out of propane and it was going to be a cold night. I was headed downtown on foot and a cop saw me and offered me a ride. When I told him what I was doing he suggested I sack out in the jail.

The night I was in jail someone I had crossed swords with earlier was shot in the head about three or four times.

My name was mentioned as being someone that had crossed swords with him and I was asked for my whereabouts the time of the murder.

It gave me immense satisfaction to tell them I had spent the night in their jail. Best alibi in the world.

Incidentally the shooting was later ruled suicide. Gotta love Alaskans.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Thursday, September 10, 2015

There are three of us

 in the Grandfather's Club and I have mentioned that for years we recklessly endanger the lives of children by taking them for a ride in the back of a pickup truck in farm country evenings.

There will likely be two as one of them got word from the medicos he's going to cash in his chips pretty soon. I won't post details.

Anyway, the three of us have decided that we are going to have a hay ride in the back of the pickup in a few weeks when the air gets crisp and Jim Beam starts tasting real good in an oak forest.

We've already asked the youngsters and they are all for it. I suppose that this is still in the conspiracy stages so I'll post details later on as the conspiracy turns into a major crime.

Stay tuned.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

I just found a card in my window from a co worker

Who is also a ham operator. I ran his call and he is a technician in grade and is a local. I imagine he's active in his area on 2 meters as there isn't a whole lot a technician can do on HF.

My guess is that he's in the city and has no place to set up a decent HF antenna as he appears to be a city dweller.

Maybe he has no interest in HF but if I meet up with him I'm going to pass on to him a couple of forums because the guys there are pretty good at setting up antennas in odd places.

Either that or I'll introduce him to the PRC 320s and other man packs that will allow him to go on the air outside of his home.

Why not?

A number of guys in the city seem to steer clear of HF because of the antenna issue yet there are a lot of ways a guy that is interested can go on the air in a city environment.

I once met a ham that operated out of a flat in Manhattan for a while and he said he managed to do OK, considering.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

There is a Kentucky county clerk

 that is refusing to issue marriage permits to gays. I know it has been in the news lately.

Now I have just read of a Muslim woman working as an airline attendant. She has refused to serve alcohol to passengers for religious reasons.

If your religion won't permit you to do a certain job then don't apply for it. 

It is as simple as that.

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Monday, September 7, 2015

There is some damned thing on TV in the background

 about the Jerry Sandusky/ Joe Paterno molestation thing that happened at Penn State a couple of years ago. 

Penn State should have simply been kicked out of the NCAA, period. Adios. Gone. History. Good bye, Boys and Girls. You will not see us ever again at any time or on any channel.

While Paterno wasn't a molester, he abetted Sandusky in it by turning a blind eye. Yet there are a lot of people afterwards that defended him Paterno. 

The entire part that disgusted me more than anything else is when a number of locals showed their true colors by defending the bastard.

I was wearing a Pedo State T-shirt and on the way into a supermarket some Pedo State alumni started in on my case about it. He could have said that the student body and faculty knew nothing about it and abhorred it but he didn't.

Instead he started telling me what a great guy Joe Paterno was. He didn't like it very much when I told him that great guys don't cover for child molesters. He didn't like that a whole lot and called me a couple of choice words.

That's when I went off on him. His wife and son were with him and I pointed at his son and said, "OK, Mister! Why don't YOU donate him, your son to that sick bastard Jerry Sandusky if football is so important. WHen this youngster cries out in the night YOU comfort him and explain to him how important it is to win the Big GAME!"

I think he wanted to swing on me. There was no way he could have talked his way out of that corner I had painted him into yet he didn't even have the moral character to be embarrassed.

His wife at least had the decency to be embarrassed, but he wasn't. 

It was stuff like this that irked me even more than the scandal. Many of the Penn State people I ran into had no sense of decency. To them nothing was more important than a damned football game. A damned game!

They didn't give a damn about the kids Sandusky molested abetted by Paterno. To them it was "It's a shame what happened to the football program."

Steeler fever I suppose is one thing. Actually Steeler fever makes life a bit easier for me. I shop during the Steeler games when the stores are empty.

It is often said that Pittsburgh is a town with a football problem and I have to admit that it sure looks like it to me. There's something wrong with people that consider  an abetter in a child molestation case a hero just because he wins football games.

Later update.

Here's something worth throwing a donation to.

At least SOMEONE connected to Pedo State seems to have some decency:

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Saturday, September 5, 2015

Your comment has been duly noted.

Someone the other day said to me that Donald Trump was kind of like Andrew Dice Clay.

I asked how he figured that. The Diceman was crude and profane and while Trump can get a smidge rough around the edges he is nowhere as rough as Clay.

"Yeah," he said. "But Trump is out there saying what a lot of people think but many are afraid to say. Even though the Diceman was crude about it what made him popular was he was in his own way doing the same thing Trump is now."

Interesting perspective. Duly noted.

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Friday, September 4, 2015

Made it!

Hopefully this one will get through.

Bad internet connection today

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Thursday, September 3, 2015

The cell phone I have now sucks.

It is a big pain in the ass and I wish I could go back to the one I had that finally gave up the ghost. It had all I needed. It made calls and I could text. 

It had a real keyboard and not the screen kind which with my big fingers requires a stylus to be able to text easily.

The one I have now is an overcomplicated, tempermental unit that has far more features that I will ever be able to use.

My sister, in an effort of kindness programed the Facebook app onto it which really is more trouble than it is worth. It's constantly popping every time someone does something on Facebook and has become a nuisance.

The touch screen deal shows a red bar during phone calls an I have to be damned careful with it as if I hit it with my cheek bone it cuts the call off. 

While I can see who emailed me and there are other features on the damned thing, I think I would be better off with a simpler model and I am going to take a step down if I can when this one dies.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

I got to squeeze one in today,

On an internet thread I saw where some guy parked his car in a selfish manner and left it there for 2 hours. Apparently nobody complained.

His excuse was that his classic car had a cherry 32 year old paint job. He wanted to keep it from being scratched.

His point was taken. Personally he gets a pass from me. On the other hand if I had a car like that I would not use it to go shopping with.

Years ago I gave up on things like that. I discovered that I am one of those people that can never have nice things. Most of us fit into this category.

I gave up on this years ago. 

That guy Murphy that wrote all those laws was an optimist.

There are just too many lazy, stupid, and inconsiderate people in this world to be able to keep anything nice. 

I have had my fair share of door dings, hit and runs and other stuff. It's the reason I don't spend a whole lot of money to make anything too nice. Someone will come along and ding it up.

In Philly I was sitting in a parking lot when a fat, inconsiderate local pulled up next to me. She opened her door and left me with a nice long scruffed part on the side of my then new pickup.

As I write this I am a victim of some jerk's inconsideration. My battery alarm has just told me that someone unpluggd this computer to plug something in. I have no problem with that except for he didn't plug it back in when he was done using the outlet.

I know who did this and the next time I run into him he's going to wish he plugged it back in when he was done with it. Maybe I can get a street named after him. A One Way street.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Still in the suck

Only have internet for a few minutes today.

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