Sunday, June 28, 2009

Guess who?

....Neal is on his Soapbox over?
"....This man has no idea of what it means to be an American. He cares nothing for the principles which made this country what it is. He shows no respect for the sacrifices made by our servicemen in the defense of our freedoms and liberty. And he cares less than spit about the document that he swore an oath to uphold...."
OK. Its not that hard.

h/t Theo.

On The Occasional Perks of a Bad Schedule

I don't often write about my work life. If done well--or at least as I define "well"--being an airline pilot is boring and lonely. I like the work, but am tired of the travel, if that makes any sense. If I ever find myself making a call to my wife to tell her about my exciting day at work, it will be the last thing either one of us wants. And because she is my best friend, not seeing her half the month brings a sense of aloneness.

The system by which we bid our schedules was changed recently. "Change" may be too harsh a verb..."tweak" might be better. I had had my bidding strategy pretty much on "automatic pilot" month-to-month, and have gotten used to a schedule which fits my needs. I haven't put the time to understand these new tweaks well enough to make use of their strengths...maybe next month. Anyway, this new change/tweak, in combination with the regular seasonal variations of an airline schedule (summers are always busier than winters) and the industry trying to react to a declining economy has left me with lesser quality schedules than I have been used to. I'm not complaining, mind you, just noting that things aren't as good as they once were.

Anyway, this month has been especially taxing. I have a flying schedule of 16 days...which is about normal. On top of that, however, I was away for 4 days for our annual recurrent training. I spent the two days immediately preceding that recurrent in a financial seminar. (And I finally came to understand the material well enough to think that I am done going to these seminars. Now to translate that knowledge into my trading accounts!) And rather than go home after recurrent, I spend the Father's Day weekend with my ailing father for what I believe may be his last Father's Day. Immediately following that, I launched off on another trip.

All told, I have been able to be home 6 days this month. Wifeof- and Sonof- and Dau#2ofAzlib have been wonderful for me. The chores I normally take care of--the yardwork, the pool care, the ironing--have been taken care of by my family. If you're a reader who works 5 days a week and has 8 or 9 days of "weekend" a month, then 6 days may not sound like much, but my life is structured on 14-16 days off each month. Six days of down time hasn't been enough.

And because I'm not bidding well, the trips I've flown this month aren't particularly great either. By that I mean I am flying all-night trips. Some guys totally hate this type of trip, but I'm not one of them (yet). We have a "Quiet Room" where I am based, and I've found that if I can spend an hour or two in a recliner in a dark room with my earplugs in, then I can function for an all-night flight. Its not easy: That nap is crucial, and I have to drink coffee, and plan to eat and stand up to get my blood flowing in order to stay awake, but it is "do-able". I've had three of these all-night trips this month which have had me leaving my west coast base some time between 10pm and midnight and arriving in New York between 5:30am and 8am.

Anyway, last night we found ourselves watching the sun rise in the last hour of our flight. I'm not much of an astronomer, but I have flown enough at night to recognize some of the bigger constellations, as well as Venus and Mars. But last night, right before sunrise, and as we were over western New York, we were able to see what we took was the International Space Station. You can track it here.

A busy month half-full of crappy trips does have it's opportunity for a perk.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Count me as more than a.....

Little pissed off.

My congressman, Jeff Flake, missed the vote on the Waxman-Markey Cap and Trade bill.

Not that it matters, as the bill passed 219-212, so his vote would have made it 219-213.


I took the effort to call his Arizona office this morning to speak out on this issue. The woman who took my call was receptive, but as is usually the case, she didn't offer anything back.

And tonight I found out the reason: Flake was watching his daughter compete in the America's Junior Miss competition.

Don't get me wrong: I really, really like Jeff Flake. Everybody likes their congressman, but I don't just like him because he represents me. He has been one of the best guys around for quite some time.

[A personal point: Flake lives in my neighborhood. This daughter is a senior at the high school that my three kids attended. I see him at our neighborhood gym. And Flake selected a drawing my oldest daughter did when she was a high school senior for the Congressional Art Competition. Her drawing hung in Congress for a year, and it was a high honor for both her and our family.]

I'll give the guy his is important, and I have no doubt that this Junior Miss is a big deal. Being there for his daughter is something any father would want to do.

But this Cap and Trade bill is important for all of us--his daughter included. It will crush our economy in a misdirected aim of saving our environment. There are too many loopholes to be effective as a environmental tool, making the whole thing a stupid exercise.

Flake is still a good guy, but he should have voted. Even given that the bill apparently has a slim chance in the Senate, he should have found a way to be there for the vote. I'm going to remember this.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"Stop spending our future"....

Ummm, Yep. Can't argue with one word.

h/t Sine Nominee, seen via Glenn, so he doesn't need my traffic.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hard hats and tie tacs.....

I guess there are occasions where a hard hat is seen with a tie architect visiting a work site perhaps...but they usually don't have much in common.

However, on a visit through Drudge's site, I saw this story on some hard hats distributed by the AFL-CIO on Capital Hill to make some pro-union point. The problem being: the hard hats are made in China. The union tried to excuse this with....
"Obviously our policy is to only use union vendors and it was a mistake by a new staffer who ordered them and unfortunately wasn't caught before they went out."
[Hmmmm. "New staffer". That has a familiar ring.]

So how the connection to tie tacs?

As you can see from the upper left, I am an airline pilot. With that, I am also a union my case, the Air Line Pilots Association.

And for an airline pilot union member, wearing a union tie tac is important to many of us. For those who don't know, in the build up to a contract, a great deal is made of solidarity among the union, and getting everyone to wear the tie tac is one of the favored methods of measuring and demonstrating that solidarity.

The ALPA tie tac comes with numbers denoting the number of years you have been a member. 5, 10, 15, 20, etc.

I may have written about this long ago....if I did, I didn't tag it, so its back in the archives somewhere. Anyway, when I went through 20 years, the union sent me a nice note with my new 20 year pin.

And here it is.....

Click the image for a larger view.

I wrote the union making the same "You've-got-to-be-kidding-me...sending-me-a-union-pin-made-in-China" complaint and got pretty much the same response--Mistakes are made.

I hope you can see why I don't--and won't--wear my union pin any longer.

Monday, June 22, 2009's the thing.......

Like everybody else in the world, I've got a couple of gay acquaintances, and even a distant relative who is a lesbian.

That said, I'm as straight as the day is long. Not a gay bone in my body. [Awright, awright... I'll dispense with the double entrendes.]

But if ever I was to have a man-crush, it would have to be with this guy.

And yeah, it turns out to be a pitch for somebody, and I'm real close to becoming a gold bug myself, but the rant is beautiful, man. Beautiful.

h/t Gerard.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Good Gawd.....

I had one of these as a kid.

Yep. That was one fine Christmas, I'll tell you.

At one point, I also had a toy meant to be a version of one of these.....

No wonder I'm a bit twisted (like the barrel of a rifle. I keed! I keed!)and have a gun-safe full of metal.

However, those were the days when boys did not play with dolls, so for as macho as they were, Dad didn't allow my brother and I have any G.I. Joes. They were little more than Barbies, and I think I have to agree. It is better to emulate adult life with toys than to imagine toys playing with other toys....if that makes any sense.

I guess that today's video game generation makes that point even more pointedly....what with middle and high schools using the Wii platform in their gym classes, we have accepted the idea that we can simulate doing something as well as actually doing it. I mean what's better: Handing a kid a tennis racket and a ball, or handing him a video controller so he can simulate playing tennis?

Anyhoo, this trip down memory lane is all thanks to a small item I saw at DirectorBlue having been pointed there by Gerard.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

A(nother) random thought....

On my way back from grabbing my lunch today, this picture popped into mind. Lots of folks on the intertubes and the blogododecahedron were talking about it the other day. Glenn got it from Drudge. Ann ran a caption contest. Pretty much everybody spoke about it. I dunno know why it came to mind today. It just did.

Now, I'm on long record here has being less-than-impressed with Michelle Obama. She strikes me, more than anything, as an angry woman. I've felt that way all the way back to her days of "not being proud of her country", and her admonishment that "Barack Obama will require you to work." The extravagant inauguration ceremonies--which cost far more than the previous record did--and last week's "date night" to NYC strike me as things that Michelle had her hand in.

I get many of my viewers here through images searches for Michelle Obama wearing what I call her "Black Widow" dress. [The image I used stole for that purpose is now gone into the internet black hole, but you get the idea.]

I wondered then, and still wonder: Why would she wear this dress? Especially after we had previously asked: "What's So Scary About Michelle Obama?"

Anyhoo, what popped into mind today was the flash that there is a bit of history between Carla Bruni (wife of French President Nicholas Sarkozy) and Michelle Obama.
"...Carla Bruni will stay away from the summit, preferring to meet Michelle Obama in Strasbourg. The Élysée Palace told The Times that Ms Bruni would not be among the 16 spouses who will accompany their partners to London for events hosted by Sarah Brown and a reception at Buckingham Palace.

Instead the first ladies of the United States and France will meet at a European summit on Saturday, in what inevitably will be seen as a snub to London...."
Lots of readings of the meanings behind the fashion and body language here, here and here.

I'm thinking that that look--like her "not proud" comment and her belief that Barack will drive us from our cynicism,--reveals more about the inner Michelle than she would like us to know.

I'm guessing that...

...The Secretary of the Treasury will create a new
"Bureau of How-Much-You-Ought-to-be-Paid".

How long before this Bureau is not limiting itself to executive compensation? How long before companies find a way around their limitations? How long would it be before we'd see companies' talent pool go John Galt because of these limitiations? How would the Bureau be better than the Boards of Directors, the stockholders--the Market for executive talent--at determining how someone should be paid?

In short: What could possibly go wrong?

h/t OptionArmegeddon

O/T: The NYT link to the SecTreas plan to regulate executive compensation has on its sidebar this story from the "Moral of the Story" column entitled "Give Women Guns". The author, Randy Cohen, we're told has 5 Emmys, one of which he "received [...] as a result of a clerical error, and he kept it." We're also told his Moral of the Story column is one where "he will examine a news story from an ethical perspective." He is also--no kidding--a humorist.

One question: How is it ethical to keep an item gained through a clerical error? Or is that supposed to be humor?

And were I less busy this week, I might try to fisk this thing, but right now I'm overwhelmed.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Obama in Cairo on Islam....

I confess to not having watched His (sic) speech in its entirety, but I've seen enough to know that I'm not impressed.

Neither is Amir Taheri of the New York Post. A snippet.....
President Obama's "address to the Muslim world" was a masterwork of equivocation and political naiveté.
Lots of commentators have already debunked Zero's acknowlegment of "civilization's debt to Islam"--"the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing." However, what caught my eye was when Zero repeated one of the reliable canards of the Left: "Unlike Afghanistan, Iraq was a war of choice that provoked strong differences in my country and around the world."

The war in Iraq was not a "war of choice". We brought the matter to the U.N. and were able to get the U.N. Security Council to vote unanimously that, among other things, "the Council has repeatedly warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations".

The Congress fully debated the question of going to war with Iraq. The Iraq War Authorization passed the House 297-133 (including 82 Democrats voting in favor) and the Senate 77-23. More Democrat Senators voted for the Resolution than voted against it (29 voting for; 21 voting against). Included in those Senators voting for what Zero calls a "war of choice" are his Vice President, who was "perhaps the single most important congressional backer of the Bush administration's decision to invade that oil-rich country" and Zero's Secretary of State, who, in her then-capacity as a Senator, also voted for the Resolution.

It is an outrage that Zero would go onto foreign soil (not to mention Islamic foreign soil) and cast the Iraq War as a little-debated question, decided upon rashly, and without adequate consideration for other methods of solving the Iraq problem. The world and this country fully looked at the problem we faced in Iraq, and openly decided on a course of action.

That Zero disageed with that decision, and was in the minority at the time, does not make it now a "War of choice".

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


I left a comment over in Cowboy Blob's weekly caption contest, and frankly, what with our anniversary trip and everything else going on right now, I'd forgotten about it.

And lo, and behold, I won! Thanks, Blob!