January 20 –
ISLAM'S MESSAGE TO AMERICA ...
OBAMA PUZZLED BY MASSACRE …
POLL SHOWS O'S LUSTER FADING
Buried deep in the New York Times report (!) on the Algeria massacre …
“One Algerian who managed to escape told France 24 television late Friday night that the kidnappers said, "We've come in the name of Islam, to teach the Americans what Islam is." The haggard-looking man, interviewed at the airport in Algiers, said the kidnappers then immediately executed five hostages.”
How long before our government recognizes reality and really brings down the hammer? Too long, I suspect.
Cautious folk might be advising children and/or grandchildren to take Chinese language lessons. Especially since evidence that this nation is too stupid to survive continues to grow; e.g., Obama saying that he's “seeking a fuller understanding of what happened” in Algeria. As if the message weren't clear enough. Of course, when a politician sympathizes with the enemy ...
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I'm waiting to hear Obama repeat, in his inaugural speech, that Al Qaeda is still “decimated” and “on the run.”
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Wonder why Attorney General Eric (“the Red”) Holder is trying to prevent the release of documents related to his “Fast and Furious” operation that was smuggling guns to Mexican criminals; guns eventually used in the murder of a U.S. Border Patrol agent and countless others within Mexico?
Oh – we know why, don't we?
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Poll (Gallup) says Obama's popularity has been dropping since his anti-gun crusade began.
Only someone with the IQ of an armadillo could be surprised that the wants to abolish the Second Amendment.
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A life in radio ... (cont.) … Come fly with me ...
While I'd flown hundreds of thousands of miles on airlines, I'd never even been close to a small plane until WIND, my radio home in Chicago, sponsored (for charity) a big airshow at DuPage Airport in the northwest suburbs.
The Blue Angels were the main attraction, along with the nation's top aerobatic pilots. The radio station management thought it would be a good idea if one of the on-air personalities -- me -- would go up with national champion aerobatic (i.e., stunt) pilot Bill Dodd and do a live broadcast while we went through breathtaking maneuvers in the sky. I overcame my reticence when they appealed to my ego by taking out a million-dollar life insurance policy on me for the event. I figured it was probably the only way I'd ever even temporarily be worth a million.
It was, as Bill had promised, "The most fun you can have with your clothes on." When we landed I said to him, "I'll never be able to do the things you do with an airplane, but I must learn to fly."
He became my first instructor. Belying his daredevil image, Bill was a mild-mannered man; he and his wife owned a flower farm near Chicago. On the farm he had a landing strip and a hangar that housed his five aerobatic planes, all different. He'd just gone to Switzerland to buy a Bucker Jungmeister because it was, at the time, one of the few aircraft in the world that could do the breathtaking Lomcevak maneuver, in which the pilot flies in a circle in one direction while simultaneously rapidly rolling the aircraft in the opposite, i.e. outside, direction and tumbling. Proof that I've never even tried it, myself, rests on the fact that I'm still alive.
I got my first lessons in a Boeing Stearman, a pre-WW2 bi-plane military trainer ... a real beast to handle. I learned to roll and loop it before I learned to land it -- and never landed it smoothly.
Bill had no interest in flying small planes to actually travel; he was strictly an airline passenger for real journeys. He enjoyed small aircraft only when doing daring maneuvers in an open-cockpit bird. Thus, my early training took place in open-air planes, often upside-down. He turned me over to a conventional instructor for the mundane basics necessary to get a license.
By the next spring, as the annual airshow approached, Bill put me in another of his little wonders, a Ryan STA (look it up on the web – it's beautiful), and announced that this year I would fly in the show. He taught me more basic aerobatic maneuvers -- hammerhead stalls, the Cuban Eight, the Immelman turn, as well as loops and rolls.
None of the pros watching from the ground would have been awed, but I did it. I also got an unexpected thrill when something went awry in the Menasco engine as I was upside-down at the end of my closing Cuban Eight maneuver (flying a sideways figure-8, half of it inverted) spraying oil into the cockpit and all over my oh-so-chic white flying coveralls.
That created a further complication. The show, as is usual for such events, was running late. The radio station had a car and driver waiting to rush me after the show to O'Hare Airport where I had to catch a Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt, connecting to Munich, where my travel agency had a tour group awaiting my arrival to join them for the remainder of a European tour.
The dignified German businessmen in First Class (a perk for travel industry folk who bring substantial business to an airline) weren't exactly thrilled to see an American in white coveralls heavily spotted with oil sitting among them. And, while I'd never been unnerved during my recent adventure in the sky, given time to reflect on it I belatedly realized what could have happened if my plane's engine had quit completely while I was upside-down at a fairly low altitude.
To calm my nerves, the ever-attentive Lufthansa flight attendant began bringing me copious quantities of adult beverage. The flight was late into Frankfurt, and it was only Lufthansa's vaunted efficiency that got me to my connecting flight to Munich.
Upon arrival in Munich, the plane taxied off the end of the runway -- and stopped. The flight attendant came to me and said I could disembark at that point because the airline -- with which my travel agency did a lot of business -- had sent a limousine to take me to my hotel.
I was not in the best of condition, still wearing my airshow gear, when I arrived at the hotel shortly before noon. There I was informed I only had time to shower and change because the tourist group was awaiting me for a boisterous lunch at the Hofbrau Haus, the most famous beer hall in the world.
Oompah band playing, people dancing, much shouting and singing ... and an endless stream of gigantic beer steins. The rest of that visit to Munich was -- and -- is a blur. A pleasant blur, but a blur.
Later my friend, 747 Captain and eventually Chief Pilot for United Airlines, Verne Jobst, steered me thru instrument, seaplane and multi-engine pilot training. I even got a little jet time in aircraft as small as the Learjet and as large as a Boeing 707, but not enough to get rated to be pilot-in-command. I did fly co-pilot on some twin-engine propeller-driven charter flights later when I lived in Miami.
I still have fond but slightly painful memories of Captain Jobst hitting me over the head with a folded aviation chart when I got off course a couple of degrees in instrument training while "under the hood" and able to see nothing beyond the instrument panel itself. He also regularly beat me at the ancient Chinese board-game called "Go" and gloated mercilessly.
He still flies and is probably type-rated in as many different aircraft as any pilot in the world, including a WW2 B-17 bomber that occasionally appears at airshows. If it has wings, he's probably flown it.
I later got to fly with the Blue Angels when they were flying the F4F Phantom. There's nothing to equal the experience of tearing down the middle of Lake Michigan, north-to-south, upside-down at 1,060 MPH. When the pilot (Capt. Vince Donile, USMC) flipped into a 90-degree bank on the base-leg of the landing approach, it slammed my head between my knees and I literally couldn't lift it. When he rolled out of the banking and lined up for final approach, I asked him over the intercom, "What was that?"
He laughed and said, "We call that 6 G's." No wonder those guys are in such great shape!
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Reader Jack contributes a footnote to space-age history …
When NASA first started sending up astronauts, they quickly discovered that ball-point pens would not work in zero gravity. To combat the problem, NASA scientists spent a decade and $1.2 billion to develop a pen that writes in zero gravity, upside down, underwater, on almost any surface including glass and at temperatures ranging from below freezing to 300 Celsius.
Confronted with the same problem, the Israelis used … a pencil.
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“When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber.” – Sir Winston Churchill
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Reader Sam passes along this inspiring story ...
One Sunday morning the pastor was presenting a special sermon he had prepared just for children. As he concluded the pastor asked the children if they knew the meaning of the resurrection.
A little boy immediately raised his hand. The pastor called on him and the little boy said, "I know that if you have a resurrection that lasts more than four hours you are supposed to call the doctor."
|"...and now, if you'll excuse me..."|