Saturday, April 30, 2016

Not all Norwegian F-16 pilots are doofi

After a Norwegian fighter pilot earned our Doofus Of The Day award yesterday, reader S. K. (himself a former USAF F-16 pilot) e-mailed me with the link to this article.

Quick-thinking medical staff in Norway saved a patient's life by calling in an F-16 fighter jet to whisk life saving medical equipment from one hospital to another, media reports said on Friday.

. . .

Staff [in Trondheim] contacted the air force on April 4th for help in transporting the equipment - a request that came in just as two F-16 fighter jets were getting ready to take off from an airbase near Trondheim, the reports said.

. . .

In a stroke of good luck, one of the fighter jets was equipped with an external hold that allowed it to transport equipment. The machine was loaded onto the aircraft, which made for Bodo at top speed.

"Usually we cover that distance in 35 minutes," air squadron head Borge Kleppe told Norwegian daily Verdens Gang.

"But given the special nature of the cargo, the pilot stepped on it and arrived at the destination less than 25 minutes later," he added.

There's more at the link.

S. K. said in his e-mail:

"Figured I'd help 'pile on' the Norwegians.  They are some of the best F16 pilots I have had the pleasure of training."

That was some very fast flying, and the patient's life was saved.  Kudos to the pilots concerned.


Moonbats doing their moonbattish thing

It's hard to describe just how nauseating this is.

Students at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst set a new high for hysteria Monday night at an event featuring Christina Hoff Sommers, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Steven Crowder.

The event was intended to be a forum and discussion about the use of political correctness on campus, but degenerated into a shouting match as protesters sought to drown out the speakers with cries of “hate speech” and, less imaginatively, “**** you.”

One of the protesters took it upon herself to pass out literature expressing her concern for the “triggering” event, claiming the speakers “all demonstrate either that you don’t give a **** about people’s trauma and pain and think it’s funny to thrust people into states of panic and distress OR that you fundamentally do not understand what a trigger is, what it means to be triggered, and what a trigger warning is meant to prevent.”

. . .

The speakers were constantly interrupted throughout the event by shouts from the audience to “go home” or that “we don’t want you here,” with some of the most enthusiastic hollering coming from the very protester Campus Reform had attempted to speak with before the event.

When the protester attempts to interrupt Yiannopoulos at the beginning of the video, Hoff Sommers tells her to “calm down, young lady.” Paying no heed, the protester responds with an impassioned “**** you! **** you!”

Later on, the young lady begins loudly asserting that “hate speech is not welcome here” and demanding that the speakers “keep your hate speech off this campus,” all while insisting that she is the true embodiment of free speech.

“Stop talking to us like children!” she demands at another point.

“Then stop acting like a child,” Hoff Sommers responds coolly.

There's more at the link.  Here's a short video highlighting some of the moonbattery.

If you'd like to watch the whole event, the video (an hour and a half long) is available here.

This sort of nonsense is absolutely typical of the moonbat - a.k.a. the liberal/progressive extremist (emphasis on 'extreme').  They may talk about 'human rights', but they actively seek to deny those rights to anyone with whom they disagree.  For example, 'free speech' means it's free to them, but denied to their ideological opponents.  It's fascist totalitarianism under another guise.

Contrast that with those honorable leftists who aren't afraid to be up-front about their opinions, and their opposition to those of others, but do so in a relatively polite manner and are open to debate.  They aren't likely to change, but they're willing to give respect in return for it.  Fortunately, there are a number of people like that on the 'other side', which makes it possible to have a reasoned exchange of views instead of the blind, impassioned, visceral, emotional rejection demonstrated by the protestors in the video exchange above.

Based on the above, I can only wonder . . . is it safe to be near a moonbat during the full moon period?


Friday, April 29, 2016

Looks like Target may be in a spot of bother

As most readers will know by now, political correctness and I don't exactly get along.  I was outraged by Target Stores' decision to allow people to use its restrooms based on their gender self-identification, rather than the chromosomal or biological reality.  I've said before that I regard such insanity as an open invitation to sex offenders, deviates and the mentally ill to target (you should pardon the expression) the 'normal' among us, particularly children.

Seems I was right.

Here are the top twenty sex crime reports from Target’s stores across the nation.

04/2016 – Police have arrested a man accused of exposing himself to a 9-year-old boy in the bathroom of a Target store in Cedar Park in February. Roel Anthony Vasquez, 27, was charged March 24 with indecency with a child by exposure. No one at the store could identify who he was when the incident occurred, so police asked for help from the public by releasing pictures of the suspect from store surveillance video in March.

04/2016 – MIDWEST CITY, Okla. – The District Attorney in Oklahoma County has filed a misdemeanor charge against a man accused of stalking women at a metro Target store. Cody Stephens, 21, lives in Midwest City, not too far from the Target store where he is accused of stalking women.

10/2015 – SOUTH BEND – South Bend police are looking for a man who performed a sexual act Monday afternoon at a Target department store at 1400 E. Ireland Road, according to our news partner ABC57. A 16-year-old girl was shopping at the department store when a man approached her from behind and performed a sexual act on himself at about 2 p.m., police said. The man got away, and police are still looking for him.

There are many more at the link.  Read them and weep - or become incandescent with rage, which is probably a better response.

The American Family Association's petition and call to boycott Target has now exceeded one million signatures.  I'm not a particular fan of the AFA, but that seems like a good start.  I haven't signed it, but I'm in;  and I hope my readers are as well.


A series of explosive miscalculations

It's been an interesting week for aficionados of loud bangs.

First off, a Taliban suicide bomber offed himself and a bunch of terrorist colleagues.

A Taliban suicide bomber accidentally killed himself and eight fellow militants after triggering his explosives vest by mistake.

The jihadist fighters had been ordered to carry out an attack in Kunduz city, Afghanistan, but all died before their got there.

However, one of the militants detonated his vest shortly after leaving a Taliban base in Dasht-e-Archi, triggering everyone else's explosives, the Afghan Interior Ministry said.

I wonder if he qualified for his 72 virgins if he screwed up that badly?

Next, a dumbass in Baltimore learned that his fake suicide bomb vest was, indeed, dangerous - to him.

Finally, an instructor at 'a federal law enforcement agency' (unspecified) thought he'd loaded his shotgun, for demonstration purposes, with dummy rounds.  He hadn't.

The firearms instructor brought an ammo can full of clear dummy rounds with him.  Spoiler Alert: Almost all of them were dummy rounds.

The instructor loaded his Remington 870 shotgun from the ammo can and began to demonstrate its operation. There was a loud noise and a hole appeared in the wall in front of the shotgun.

I hope the instructor took a moment to talk about shotgun penetration in residential walls.  This was a teachable moment. None of the pellets made it to the class full of students across the hall.  Anything other than bird shot would have probably produced casualties.

There's more at the link.  It's well worth reading in full, to get the author's safety suggestions and re-examine your own firearm handling and demonstration practices in the light of what could have been a very nasty incident indeed.


Doofus Of The Day #903

Today's award goes to the pilot of a Norwegian Air Force F-16.

Two F-16s were taking part in a mock attack on the uninhabited island of Tarva off Norway's west coast when one of them opened fire with its M61 Vulcan cannon, which is capable of firing up to 100 rounds a second.

A hail of bullets hit the tower in the incident, which happened on the night of April 12, but the officers inside were not injured.

In a similar incident in 2009, F-16s fired in error on the same tower, with at least one round piercing the structure, but again no-one was injured.

There's more at the link.

After two such incidents, if I were a Norwegian Air Force officer, I'd regard a posting to that tower as the exact opposite of career-enhancing . . . more like an invitation to play Russian roulette at one hundred rounds per second!

(Of course, the US Air Force isn't immune from similar accidents . . . )


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Fred: The establishment is "Putrefaction most foul"

Fred Reed's latest column is a masterpiece.  Here's an excerpt.

Donald Trump’s campaign reveals the establishment for what it is, a swamp of corruption  as fetid as those of Latin America. It is better entertainment than Vaudeville. The frantic scramble to rig the primaries, change the rules, and thwart the voters–anything to defend their cozy entanglement of political tapeworms–makes absurd any pretense of democracy.

. . .

But it does make sense. The Republicans try desperately to ditch the only Republican candidate who could win the Presidency because... Hillary is one of them. Because, as every sentient being has by now noticed, the Republicans and Democrats are members of the same corrupt club of blood-sucking parasites, the action arm of the corporations, Wall Street, the Israeli lobby, and those who want the US to control the world at any cost–except, of course, to them. They are panicked at the rise of someone who might put first the interests of America. Better Hillary, a fellow parasite, than Trump, who isn’t.

. . .

Will  the two parties succeed in blocking the Donald? Might they even resort to the Martin Luther King solution? My powers of political prognostication would be under zero if they could figure out how to get there.

. . .

The corruption is adroitly hidden, yes, or disguised as something else. Yet it is there. Consider the subprime disaster. To believe that it was an accident, or a cyclical downturn, or other artifact of econobabble, one has to believe that bankers, realtors, and Wall Street do not understand mortgages, credit, or defaults. You have to believe that officials of the Treasury, who slide back and forth between Wall Street and government like the motion of the tides, had no idea what was going on.

At the top, America is as corrupt as Mexico but American corruption is far more efficient. Among the white middle class, the rot is less. But within the clubhouse of insiders,  at the level of the anointed, of the Adelsons and Epsteins and Clintons and Bushes, there is putrefaction most foul.

It is cleverly done, and seldom involves anything so sordid as open bribery. Yet the results are everywhere. Men who knew exactly what they were doing engineered the student-loan bubble. Yet it is legal, like so many scams. Huge military contracts for things not needed, the near-control of Mid-Eastern policy by Israel, poor medical care at high prices, the deliberate gutting of American industry so that corporations can enrich themselves in China–all of this is legal. You pay Congress and it makes legal anything you want.

. . .

Corruption has come to be the purpose of government, and the Club battens on it.

. . .

Of course Trump also is a billionaire,but he is a turncoat, a class traitor, the Benedict Arnold of billionaires. He addresses the issues that the Insiders want to remain unaddressed. He is indeed dangerous. He threatens the endless (immensely profitable) wars, the endless (immensely profitable) shipping of American jobs to China, the endless (immensely profitable) importation of cheap Mexican labor. He threatens the sacred rice bowls.

It is why he must be stopped.

There's more at the link.  Go read the whole thing.  It's well worth your time.

As I've said several times before, I'm neither in favor of nor opposed to Mr. Trump as a Presidential candidate.  Some of what he's said sounds excellent.  Some things in his track record don't square with what he's currently saying, and I'm not sure whether that's political dissimulation or a genuine change of heart.  The jury's out on that.  Nevertheless, I think Fred Reed has put his finger on the pulse of precisely why the establishment - which, as I've pointed out earlier, is nothing more or less than the wealthy class in America - is so united in its opposition to him.

This is also going to be problematic if Mr. Trump is elected President.  What if the establishment - which has long since bought control of Congress and the Senate - ensures that his policy proposals are never enacted into law?  Will he do an Obama and try to rule by executive fiat, without legislation authorizing his measures?  Or will he respect the Constitution, but be forced into a public relations presidency, telling the American people what he would like to achieve but never being able to actually do so?  Your guess is as good as mine.

It would be very nice if the American people would 'throw the rascals out' and elect Congressional representatives and Senators who were genuinely committed to representing their constituents, rather than the establishment . . . but I suspect that would take a home-grown version of 1789 to achieve - and I don't want to endure the inevitable consequences of such an upheaval.


A tank-buster for maritime patrol?

I was surprised to learn of an unusual maritime patrol aircraft currently deployed to the Philippines.  The Washington Post reports:

The situation in the South China Sea has grown even more complex over the past week, with A-10 attack planes flying maritime patrols over a coral reef chain known as Scarborough Shoal. It’s less than 150 miles to the west of the Philippines, and considered a site where Beijing may carry out “land reclamation” and continue its military expansion in the region this year, prompting concern from the United States and its partners in the region.

The A-10 might seem like an unlikely plane for the mission, though. The heavily armored twin-engine “Warthog” has been in service since the 1970s, and was designed for close-air support, in which combat aircraft assist ground troops by attacking enemy tanks, vehicles and positions. There is none of that around Scarborough Shoal, and the plane is considered more vulnerable than other American military planes against surface-to-air missiles.

. . .

Lt. Col. Damien Pickart, a spokesman for Air Forces Pacific, said Wednesday that the A-10 has excellent loiter capabilities and maneuverability at low air speeds and altitude that are “necessary for conducting the air contingent’s air and maritime domain awareness and personnel recovery missions.”

There's more at the link.

It's an interesting choice for many reasons.  The A-10 might also be pretty capable at maritime interdiction, if - if - it could get through the layers of modern air defenses carried by most navies.  Its 30mm. cannon should be more than capable of turning the average frigate or destroyer into a colander, and it can carry up to 8 tons of bombs and missiles.  If it can get close enough without being shot down, I'd hate to be on the receiving end.


Fake transgender criminal report

I'm afraid I was taken in by a false news report about a transgender criminal taking pictures of young girls in a ladies' restroom.  I've deleted my post about it.

If you'd like to know more, see here.

My apologies for the confusion.


Not your average Starbucks

I've been amused by an article in the Telegraph titled 'Ordering Coffee in Italy:  The 10 Commandments'.  Here's an excerpt.

I once met an Italian who didn't drink coffee. He made light of the fact, but you could see that he was tired of having to explain his disability every time some new acquaintance uttered the standard Italian greeting: "Prendiamo un caffè?" ("Fancy a coffee?"). His breezy but faintly passive-aggressive manner concealed, I suspect, deep pools of self-doubt and underground lakes of wounded masculine pride. Vegetarians develop the same nonchalant yet haunted look when travelling in places like Mongolia, where meat comes with a side-dish of meat. But this Italian guy wasn't a visitor, he was local. He was the Mongolian vegetarian.

Coffee is so much a part of Italian culture that the idea of not drinking it is as foreign as the idea of having to explain its rituals. These rituals are set in stone and not always easy for outsiders to understand.

. . .

2. Keep it simple

Thou shalt not muck around with coffee. Requesting a mint frappuccino in Italy is like asking for a single malt whisky and lemonade with a swizzle stick in a Glasgow pub. There are but one or two regional exceptions to this rule that have met with the blessing of the general coffee synod. In Naples, thou mayst order un caffè alla nocciola – a frothy espresso with hazelnut cream. In Milan thou can impress the locals by asking for un marocchino, a sort of upside-down cappuccino, served in a small glass which is first sprinkled with cocoa powder, then hit with a blob of frothed milk, then spiked with a shot of espresso.

. . .

9. The permitted drinks

Thou shall be allowed the following variations, and these only, from the Holy Trinity of caffè, cappuccino and caffé latte: caffè macchiato or latte macchiato – an espresso with a dash of milk or a hot milk with a dash of coffee (remember, mornings only); caffè corretto: the Italian builder's early morning pick-me-up, an espresso "corrected" with a slug of brandy or grappa; and caffè freddo or cappuccino freddo (iced espresso or cappuccino) – but beware, this usually comes pre-sugared. Thou mayst also ask for un caffè lungo or un caffè ristretto if thou desirest more or less water in thine espresso.

There's more at the link.

I can't help but wonder whether the average Starbucks barista would understand most of the terms in #9 above.  They might in one of the 'Little Italy' ethnic concentrations around the country, but elsewhere . . . ?  I think the Tennessee version of caffè corretto would probably involve moonshine!  As for "asking for a single malt whisky and lemonade with a swizzle stick in a Glasgow pub" . . . I think, if you did that, you'd be lucky to escape with your life.  Not a good idea - but I'd pay to watch you try it.

Of course, Scotland has some other rather strange mixtures to offer the discerning drinker - like this one. (Lyrics here, if you need them, but be warned - they're rude!)

Wikipedia says of Hamish Imlach:  "He had his biggest hit in the late 1960s with "Cod Liver Oil and the Orange Juice," a scurrilous and hilarious take on the American gospel standard "Virgin Mary Had a Little Baby" written by Ron Clark and Carl MacDougall. The song was for a time banned by the BBC as it was assumed to be full of double meanings, but at one point became the most requested song on British Forces Radio."

Aye, weel . . .


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

"The wages of smug is Trump"

There's an outstanding article at Vox in which the author castigates his liberal ilk for turning a blind eye to the real reason why Donald Trump's popularity is so great.  I think his analysis of what plagues the liberal/progressive side of politics and society in the USA (those who he calls "the smug") is spot on.  Here's a brief excerpt from a very long article - one you really need to read in full.

If the smug style can be reduced to a single sentence, it's, Why are [the poor] voting against their own self-interest?

But no party these past decades has effectively represented the interests of these dispossessed. Only one has made a point of openly disdaining them too.

Abandoned and without any party willing to champion their interests, people cling to candidates who, at the very least, are willing to represent their moral convictions. The smug style resents them for it, and they resent the smug in turn.

. . .

Few opinion makers fraternize with the impoverished — or even with anyone from the downscale, uncool, Trump-loving white working class. Few editors and legislators and Silicon Valley heroes have dinner with the lovely couple on food stamps down the road, much less those scraping by in Indiana.

. . .

I would be less troubled if I did not believe that the smug style has captured an enormous section of American liberalism. If I believed that its politics, as practiced by its supporters, extended beyond this line of thought. If this were an exception.

But even as many have come around to the notion that Trump is the prohibitive favorite for his party's nomination, the smug interpretation has been predictable: We only underestimated how hateful, how stupid, the Republican base can be.

Trump capturing the nomination will not dispel the smug style; if anything, it will redouble it. Faced with the prospect of an election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the smug will reach a fever pitch: six straight months of a sure thing, an opportunity to mock and scoff and ask, How could anybody vote for this guy? until a morning in November when they ask, What the **** happened?

. . .

The smug style resists empathy for the unknowing. It denies the possibility of a politics whereby those who do not share knowing culture, who do not like the right things or know the Good Facts or recognize the intellectual bankruptcy of their own ideas can be worked with, in spite of these differences, toward a common goal.

It is this attitude that has driven the dispossessed into the arms of a candidate who shares their fury. It is this attitude that may deliver him the White House, a "serious" threat, a threat to be mocked and called out and hated, but not to be taken seriously.

The wages of smug is Trump.

There's much more at the linkHighly recommended reading.

I'm reminded of the attitude of the British administration in India in the run-up to 1857, or the Russian nobility before 1917, or the French aristocracy prior to 1789.  It can be summed up in the infamous phrase, "Let them eat cake!"  There was a massive dissociation between what the upper crust thought motivated the lower castes and classes, and their real thoughts, desires and aspirations;  between the (lack of) understanding of the former and the reality experienced by the latter.  That same dissociation is visible today between the 'establishment' on both sides of the political divide and the broad mass of the electorate, and between liberals and progressives on the one hand, and the broad mass of struggling-to-make-ends-meet, un- and under-employed America on the other.

It's not going to be pretty when reality sets in.


How special interests are controlling 'the message'

Here's a fascinating talk by Sharyl Attkisson, the journalist who uncovered the Fast and Furious ATF scandal.  It's particularly relevant in the current election cycle, where special interests are trying to persuade us that their candidate or party or point of view is worth our vote.  Highly recommended viewing.

Ms. Attkisson's mainstream media career was derailed by political pressure on her employer, CBS, but she appears to be doing just fine on her own.  Kudos to her.


Drugs, metabolism, weight, and health

I've had a rocky road health-wise since a workplace injury in 2004 led to permanent partial disability, and medical retirement with a fused spine and damaged sciatic nerve.  To deal with the resulting 24/7/365 pain, I was prescribed multiple drugs that helped, but also 'zombified' me to a certain extent.  If I took the quantities prescribed, I found I not only couldn't think creatively - I actually underwent a change in personality.  I tapered off the dosage until I found a balance between pain control and feeling like a human being again, and stayed with that.

In 2009 I suffered a heart attack, likely due at least in part to the aftereffects of my 2004 injury, and underwent quadruple heart bypass surgery.  The cardiologist prescribed a different set of drugs for that, including one that, while it helped my heart, also had the effect of causing severe, uncontrollable weight gain.  (Later, another doctor would tell me, "You can almost watch a patient on [that drug] expand sideways.")  I ended up putting on well over 100 pounds in the course of a year.  Diet and exercise - the latter limited by my earlier injury - did almost nothing to help.  Only terminating my prescription for that drug stopped the weight gain.

It took a thoughtful, dedicated physician in Nashville to isolate the problem.  By then, thanks to multiple drug interactions, my metabolism was pretty much shot.  With his help I went through my prescriptions and cut out more than half of them, including all daily pain management medication (although I kept a supply for bad pain days).  I now take each day only those drugs essential to my heart and circulatory health, and I've learned to live with a higher level of pain.  Unfortunately, my metabolism has not 'reset'.  I'm still carrying around that extra weight, and find it almost impossible to get it off.  (For example, my wife helped me stick to a 1,200-calorie-per-day restricted diet.  Guess what?  I gained three pounds in the first week - and I wasn't cheating!  Scratch that option . . . )

I've slowly but surely come to the conclusion that if I don't get rid of the pounds, they're going to get rid of me.  They're adding to the load on my heart, bringing me to the point of being pre-diabetic with serious (and worsening) insulin resistance and showing most of the symptoms of metabolic syndrome, and putting additional strain on my injured spine and damaged nerve.  I've got to do something drastic, or face death within the next year or two.  It's as simple as that.  The risks involved in doing something are more than offset by the risks if I do nothing.

It seems the best alternative short of bariatric surgery is to try water fasting.  I've been encouraged by the work of Dr. Jason Fung in Canada, among others, which has produced remarkable results in some (but not all) people, and I've read extensively on the benefits and dangers of fasting.  (A good introduction to the subject may be found here, if you're interested.)  I'm aware of the real risks involved in so drastic a diet, but since bariatric surgery results in equally serious risks, I think they're acceptable under the circumstances (particularly given the alternative if I do nothing).  If fasting helps to not only lose pounds, but also reset my metabolism, as it's claimed to do, then so much the better.

I've been preparing for this step for some time, with the invaluable help of my wife, Miss D., who's been very supportive.  I've just undergone the most extensive series of blood tests I've ever had in my life, to analyze just about every aspect of my metabolic, digestive and circulatory health and provide me with a baseline of where I am now.  (To my amazement and indignation, my medical insurance is quite happy to cover the tens of thousands of dollars it will cost for bariatric surgery - but it won't cover blood tests to help me fast!  I have to cover those costs myself.  Oh, well . . . gotta sell more books, I guess!)

I hope that today will be the last day I eat solid food for at least the next 30 days.  This initial period will show me what my body will tolerate.  There are a number of options.

  • If I can make it for as long as 30 days without eating, I'll re-evaluate at that point, with more blood tests and medical consultation.  If I can continue, great;  otherwise I'll eat for a while, then tackle another 30-day fast.
  • If my body proves incapable of handling that long a fast, I'll find out what it can handle, then work at fasting for that length of time (say, a week to ten days), interspersed with roughly equal periods of (light) eating.
  • If blood tests and other indicators show that fasting is making other problems worse, I'll have to re-evaluate the whole thing, of course.  However, given the success others have had with this approach, I'll hope for the best.

I'm telling you all this, not in order to solicit sympathy, but to help other readers who are suffering similar problems.  I'm aware of at least a dozen of you who are facing the same sort of problem.  I hope I'll succeed in tackling mine, and if I do, I hope that'll encourage you to tackle yours.  For the rest of my readers:  I hope this will help you realize that there are people who are not sick because they're fat - they're fat because they're sick.  There's a big difference.  I've seen and experienced some of the contempt directed at fat people, and it hurts - particularly when one isn't this way out of choice.  Please keep that in mind when you see someone who's obese.  They may have problems about which you know nothing.  As Scout reported Atticus Finch's words in 'To Kill a Mockingbird':  "One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them".  I've often wished some of those making the rudest, most dismissive comments could spend a few days in mine.  I don't think they'd enjoy the experience.

Tomorrow morning it's cold turkey - or, rather, no cold turkey for me!  I'll be grateful for your prayers and good wishes over the next few months.  If this works, I hope to be a considerably slimmer, healthier, happier me by this time next year.  I'll let you know how it goes.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Doofus Of The Day #902

Today's award goes to a newly unemployed weatherman in Hungary.

It must have seemed like a great idea at the time – spicing up a report about incoming windy weather by letting rip a massive farting sound.

Sadly, bosses at the Hungarian TV2 channel didn’t see the funny side.

Szilard Horvath was rapidly fired after his ‘enhanced’ broadcast – which he improvised himself, without asking his bosses – and the clip was deleted.

A somewhat – ahem – deflated Horvath wrote on Facebook ... ‘It’s turned out I can’t do the weather on TV2 anymore… I need to find work.’

There's more at the link.

Sounds like he should be on CNN.  Don't they have a section called 'Breaking Wind News'?


Some nice footage of Russia's new strike bomber

The former Soviet Union began developing a successor to the Sukhoi Su-24 strike aircraft (which was its attempt to counter the US F-111) in the 1980's.  Thanks to the collapse of the Soviet Union and budgetary and other constraints in Russia, which took over the development, the new Su-34 limped along slowly in development.  The first production aircraft only entered service in the 2005-2007 time frame.  A handful of the aircraft saw combat over Syria last year and earlier this year.

The Su-34 is based on the very successful Su-27/30/35 family of fighter aircraft, but with a two-seat side-by-side cockpit and significant structural modifications to suit it for the bomber/strike role.  It can carry up to 13 tons of external stores and ordnance over a combat radius of 600-700 miles, and reach a maximum speed of about Mach 1.8 or thereabouts (Russia hasn't been very forthcoming about its performance).

Here's an interesting video from Russia of two Su-34's tasked with bombing ice buildup along the Sukhona River last week, to break it up and enable the spring thaw to proceed more quickly.  They aren't carrying much ordnance, which allows us to get a good look at their lines.  They certainly show a sprightly take-off performance.  Watch in full-screen mode for best results.

Their Achilles heel is likely to be their engines, as always with Russian military planes - they're unlikely to achieve more than a few hundred hours without needing a major (i.e. factory) overhaul.  The Su-35, latest generation of the fighter family from which the Su-34 is derived, has a service lifetime of only some 4,000-5,000 flying hours, so I'd assume the Su-34 has a similar limitation.  That's not a lot in comparison to some Western airframes.  Still, it's likely to be a very good performer despite those limitations.

(I can't help smiling at the sight of the Su-34's nose and cockpit. For some reason it reminds me irresistibly of a duck-billed platypus!)


The madness of New York City housing prices

I found it hard to believe this report when I first read it - but it seems it's genuine.

The Brooklyn housing market is so hot, a slick realtor is asking half a million dollars for a glorified tool shed in Gravesend.

The faded yellow 1-bedroom “home” at 86 Bay 47th Street is a measly 12 by 26 feet and is built with aluminum siding, like some backyard sheds.

. . .

“It’s a legal, single-family home. It’s a teeny tiny house, the smallest one I’ve ever sold. There’s also partially finished basement, ” Mussolino of Ben Bay Realty told The Post.

He added, “It used to be a flop house for pets, mostly pit bulls. So it needs some work.”

The lot, which is 20 by 97 feet total, sits a couple blocks from Coney Island Creek, one of the Big Apple’s most polluted waterways.

There's more at the link, including a picture of the 'home' in question.

A 12'x26' house, on less than one-twentieth of an acre of land, for half a million dollars???  With a floor area of about 300 square feet, that's smaller than quite a few travel trailers I've seen on the roads!