Wednesday, June 30, 2010
What do you do when you get a new truck that needs a new crane mounted, and the new crane weights more than the shop chain hoist can handle? Welp, you use another of the multitude of truck mounted knuckle boom cranes to set it on it's new home. Two of my coworkers are getting new trucks - theirs are getting well over 400k - and that seems to be when we "renew."
That used to be a quarter million dollar investment, but that was back before steel went way up. I don't know what the cranes go for these days - the lighter duty one I use was $60k six years ago. This one is far heavier and has more goodies. Glad I'm not paying the bills.
When ya gotta go and stop at a rest area, walk to the main building and see this - well, I'm glad I had things under control, as it were. This is from last week on US287 southeast of Quanah, TX - although several us went by it today as well. They really are nice places - all new, A/C and heat, wireless internet and clean, clean, clean.
But with wildlife. Heh.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
And to think forty bucks a day was considered expensive when this strip was inked! Snoopy was so extravagant! Today - "Your plan allows forty dollars a day? Here's your hat, there's the exit, what's your hurry? Nope, can't give you an aspirin - that's more than you've got coverage. Now scat!"
Monday, June 28, 2010
International Space Station sex ban
Commanders do not allow sexual intercourse on the International Space Station, it has been disclosed.
"We are a group of professionals," said Alan Poindexter, a NASA commander, during a visit to Tokyo, when asked about the consequences if astronauts boldly went where no others have been.
"We treat each other with respect and we have a great working relationship. Personal relationships are not ... an issue," said a serious-faced Mr Poindexter. "We don't have them and we won't."
Sheesh! What's the point, I ask you? You wanna have unlimited funding for yer space program - nuttin' like "p0rn in Space®" I tell ya! Think of the possibilities - The Study Of Massive Implants in Zero Gravity, for instance. I think I'll stop now. Y'all can thank me later.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
I'm probably gonna piss off some people here, but I don't really care. I think you've lost your mind if you want to ride across the country on a bicycle. Let's look at why.
To my point of view, cyclists have an entitlement view about their rights on the road. "Share the Road," they say. The laws support cyclists - they have just as much right to use the whole road as any other vehicle. I say they've just had great lobbyists.
I don't have a problem with bike trails and paths, or biking in the city - what I have trouble dealing with is cyclists sharing a high speed road with the rest of the motoring public. Differences in speed is the major cause of accidents. You can't get much different than ten to fifteen mph vs sixty five or seventy. I'm sorry, but that is true. Unless you are Lance Armstrong - then maybe your speed differential isn't so dangerously large. But, while most of the bikers out there are in pretty damn good shape - they aren't out there pedaling at a high rate of speed. They're just trying to endure for a day - and I gotta give 'em credit - I couldn't do it.
So, just for argument's sake, let's compare some vehicles. Let's say granny or grampa is out there tooling along at ten mph on a two lane. Mile after mile. What do you suppose eventually happens? There are minimum speed laws, and driving in an unsafe manner is always an open ended rule - they're gonna get a ticket for driving too slow for the conditions.
Or look at the Amish in their buggies. They tool along about the same speed as cyclists. What about them? They get to use the roads - but - they have to have slow moving vehicle signs mounted and safety lights for inclement weather or other poor lighting conditions - such as after dark. I've seen 'em with a ton of reflective tape as well.
Or farm equipment - what about those guys? Most equipment runs fifteen to twenty odd mph - some Gleaner combines can crank it up to thirty, but guess what? Slow moving vehicle signs and flashers plus turn signals have to be on. Moving after dark? Not so much.
Safety. When I come blasting around a curve with a wide load, using the shoulder to keep from hanging out into oncoming traffic, the last thing I want to see is a bunch of cyclists tooling along on the shoulder or better yet - down the center of the highway. My company has paid the taxes to allow me to drive on that road, and we've paid for the permits to use that shoulder and haul a wider load than normal. How much have the cyclists contributed to the state coffers to do the same?
Most of the time the cyclists are on a super two highway at least, and they pretty well stay on the shoulder to ride. However, when I'm going by a group with several hugging the "fog line (the white line outlining the right side of the lane)," it really isn't safe for me to stay in the lane and pass them with only couple feet to spare. I'm sure the turbulence is probably breathtaking. This means I'll be shutting down and easing into the oncoming lane when it's clear. If we're talking a narrow two lane - I and every other motorist have to deal with passing each little cluster of bikers - and who knows how many there will be.
Another safety hazard is the support vehicle. I don't know how many times I've come upon one driving in the main lane beside a small group and talking to them through the window. No flashing lights or slow moving vehicle sign - but I'm urged to share the road among other messages in graphics on the rear. I'd like to see how they'd react to me tooling along that slow in their city when they ain't ridin' no bike - holding them up. I'm sure that's different. If granny were driving a van that looks just like it down the road that slow - well, we all know she's gonna get stopped eventually. Even if she does vote.
But Jeffro - they're maximizing their inner selves or some such voyage of self expression. Fine - works for me, but your journey of self expression just cost me and everyone else out there a bunch of time. It cost my company fuel mileage. Shutting that rig down and getting it rolling again is throwing any fuel efficiency out the window. As well as every car or pickup that has to slow down and speed back up multiple times. Every vehicle involved just polluted the air even more due to their presence. So don't give me a "green" purpose for their "mission." Multiply the extra fuel burned by the sheer amount of cars and trucks that have been interrupted in their travel in just one day, plus the extra pollution, and the cost of everyone's time - bet it ain't cheap. If I decide my right to free expression includes shutting down my rig blocking a highway during rush hour traffic crosswise for an hour or so while I finger paint in the nude - well, I kinda think it would be a long sleeved white canvas jacket with arms that tie in the back for me. Even if it was only for an hour or so, possibly equaling the time and fuel costs associated with a large group in a day. Cyclists going across the country do basically the same thing for weeks - as far as opportunity costs go.
I guess I'm just blowing off some steam - I know that anything I say or feel will have absolutely no effect on the situation. I'm professional enough to give them all the room I can. I really don't have any solutions, either. Should the states require escort vehicles equipped with flashing lights? They do for us, under certain conditions. Should cyclists have the right of way for the whole road? AFAIC - only if they're in a vehicle capable of running at the 85th percentile of the normal speed of that road - which pretty well rules them out - period.
All I know for sure is that there is a good chance that I could run over or hit some of these travelers "finding themselves" just because there was not enough time or space to get shut down, and I don't like it at all. An alien head bike helmet and sweat wicking aerodynamic tights aren't gonna be much protection from me, should it come down to brass tacks.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
If you grew up in the sixties and seventies watching television based out of Wichita, KS - well, you knew who Major Astro was:
From Wichita to Great Bend, Garden City to Oberlin, almost any Baby Boomer who grew up in Kansas worshipped the airwaves that beamed Major Astro.
Each afternoon, thousands of children rushed home from school and turned on black-and-white television sets to watch as Major Astro, an astronaut in a shimmery silver jumpsuit with a deep baritone voice who wished them: "Happy Orbits, boys and girls ... Everything will be A-Okay and all systems will be go."
Tom Leahy Jr., best known to generations of Kansas children as either Major Astro or the weekend movie comic horror host with a mute sidekick in the show "The Host and Rodney," died Friday from complications of open heart surgery.
He was 87.
Monday, June 21, 2010
A man approached an attractive woman in a bar and asked her if she'd sleep with him for a million dollars.
"Why yes, I would!" she said warmly to him.
So, he asked "Would you sleep with me for five bucks?"
This upset her greatly - "NO! What kind of woman do you think I am?"
"Well, we've already determined that - we're just negotiating a price."
So, in our little ways, we are hypocrites - perhaps not seeing in ourselves what we think we're superior to in others. Most people have no clue - what they do is always above reproach and damn you for thinking otherwise.
So, I was at one of the local El Marto Del Wals today, buying supplies and groceries. Going through automotive, I picked up a three pack of tree shaped air fresheners- they were around two and a half bucks - no biggie. I'd been needing some for a while, and finally remembered to get some. I got the rest of my stuff, went through checkout and out the door I went. As I was unloading, I found the little trees still sitting in the child seat - I'd never paid for them.
Well, it was a hundred degrees out, I had ice and some frozen stuff, it was a long walk back in, yada yada yada. Besides, it was only a couple bucks. WallyWorld has made enough off me in the past twenty or thirty years - well, they could afford to let this one slide.
All these arguments boiled over but the fact still remained - I had not paid for them. I had intended to pay, and it just slipped by the cashier and I, but when I discovered them unpaid and in my basket, and made the decision to just go on - I was shoplifting.
Not to worry - in order to sleep at night, I've saved the wrapper thingy that held them on the hook, so the next time I go - I'll pay for the damn things.
What would y'all do? Is it shoplifting when it's a cheap item, and you didn't mean to take it? Or is it outright theft because of the awareness that it hadn't been paid for? What's your take?
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Of course, Facebook is a neutral source for unbiased selection of test subjects in the first place. "1% are more conservative" and "4% are more liberal" - I'm 99% conservative and 96% liberal? WTF? I can believe the "77% are more socialist" but I have my doubts about being authoritarian. Yeah, that's me - I'm all about regulating everything - which I made a point of avoiding in the questions.
I'll give 'em this - they are amazingly accurate in determining who I voted for and my political affiliations. I suspect I'm being raked over the coals because I feel like there are differences in races and sexes. I've never felt that there should be any advantages for one race or sex in our courts, for instance. But, if you are hiring someone for a basketball center, I don't think it's discriminatory to exclude vertically challenged couch potatoes. If you are Hooters - you don't need to hire fat, balding truck drivers as waitresses.
I guess I shouldn't feel bad - RobertaX scored even worse than me! Heh. Of course, it could be that scoring horribly on this test is a badge of honor for conservative types, particularly since they pigeonholed me as a liberal as well.
Friday, June 18, 2010
Got this today:
Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLCMmkaaayyy....
36 St Andrew Square
Edinburgh SCO EH2 2YB
TEL: +44 (703) 597 3539
Fax: +44 (700) 606 8001
We wish to inform you of the status of your online account with us. Your account has been inactive for a few months later, we make our system upgrade.
We noticed that your information has been removed from our system and we
have not been able to contact you about your account before we upgraded
our system. However, we want you to contact us urgently so we can update
your account online. Currently, only the balance of (£ 10,500,000.00
GBP)is in your account after the upgrade on our system.
We will send you your account online log in and password as soon as we
hear from you so that you can see the status of your online account and
Chief Financial Officer
Royal Bank of Scotland Group
Wowee - a bank where I've never opened an account is emailing me (yes, moi!) that they have upgraded their system and it shows I've got a HUGE frikkin' balance! Never mind the ethics of the situation - hell, it's a big bank - they can afford a screw up once in a while, so YAY! Gotta take advantage of this deal! Even considering the money has to come from somewhere - it probably would be from some rich Scottish dude, not a bunch of widows, orphans and nuns or anything. They wouldn't miss it either. Or maybe it's like a genie and three wishes - the money just appeared like magic! Kinda like how Teh Won sees funding for his projects!
I'd better be calling - what could go wrong?
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
It's been raining a tad bit in the Midwest. I thought I'd run into something like this in Oklahoma Monday - I had to go through OKC on the way to Hartshorne (east of McAlester) and kept hearing about how I44 was closed at US77 - but I wasn't routed that way. I was pretty nervous with the route I did have - normally I come into town on I40 eastbound and take I44 south to I240 back around to I40. There must have been some construction they didn't want me going through, so they had me turn off at SH18 in Yukon and drive to SH152 through Mustang. I figured that would be where I'd find water across the road - but it wasn't that bad. SH152 took me to I44 and back on the normal track. I got to run in some severe rain over by Henryetta, but no flooding.
But, today - on US83 north of Thedford NE - I ran into what you see above. The road crews had a message board up on both sides warning everyone to slow down to pass through the water. I've been traveling that road for six years now, and never seen water cross it anywhere like that. All the rivers are close to being out of their banks - such as the Platte. Of course this is western Nebraska and downriver in eastern NE it is flooding.
Saturday night the Poor Farm got an unheard of rainfall of around 3.5" - I'm sure we've had that much or more before, but it's been a day or three, if you know what I mean and I think that you do. The wheat is all ripening nicely, and it needed a bit of cooler and moist weather to finish heading out and not shrivel. Sis and I have no wheat this year due to crop rotation - dryland farming practices in our neck of the woods requires that the ground lie fallow after a crop for a season. We could probably plant some milo - but in all the years Dad planted any, he only had a few really successful milo harvests. Of course, wheat is about the same way - it will look promising until the crop needs rain desperately and doesn't get it, and then you can't get into the field because it's too muddy to cut what little you do have, because it rained too much too late. It's all about timing.
So, when the clouds churn and get that sickly yellow, gray and dark purple look, the wind rises, and little chunks of hail start to fall - I worry about my neighbors' crops. They're not in this farming thing for fun, even if that is about all they get out of it some years.
Monday, June 14, 2010
I find myself agreeing with Ted Rall. That's just not right - not right at all.
And, a crappy joke that made me tee hee right out loud:
On the news today: BP solved the spill problem. They built a big wedding ring, slipped it on the pipe and it immediately stopped putting out.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Friday, June 11, 2010
Today on US412 westbound of Tulsa, an old church bus gradually appeared in the ol' buggy windshield. It was full of little snots, and they saw me coming for a long time. I could see some of them giving me the "pull the air horn" signal from quite a ways back, and the closer I got, the more excited they got. More and more of them were pantomiming yanking on the air horn cord, and they were practically bouncing off the walls and roof.
So, I waited. As I just about pulled even with the rear bumper, I tugged on the cord and held it until I had passed that bus. I figured they deserved a good blast, and they got it.
They were quite pleased, too.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Speaking of asses - I get kinda tired of hearing about how classy our First Lady is - why, she's just like Jackie Kennedy in the fashion department doncha know!
Yeah, right. That rumbling you hear is Jackie turning in her grave. None of the Bush First Ladies would be caught dead looking like that, nor would Hillary, for that matter. I'm sure I scare small children with my looks, but I'm not basking in the tongue baths of a lavishly partisan media, either. Classy? Not so much.
I got these two pics from Sondra K's site - they say a picture is worth a thousand words. That outfit is People of Walmart material right there. Michelle is ashamed to be an American. Welp, I got news for her - I'm ashamed she's representing our Nation as a First Lady. Her hubs doesn't really surprise me - he's a politician with a forked tongue, so for him to renege on the campaign promises that got him elected isn't very shocking. He's bared his buttocks with his indecisions due to his lack of experience - it's clear from his foreign policy missteps and his lack of action with the Gulf oil spill that he just has no clue.
It just irks me to keep hearing how wonderful our First Couple are.
Tuesday, June 08, 2010
GEOGRAPHY OF A WOMAN
Between 18 and 22, a woman is like Africa . Half discovered,
half wild, fertile and naturally Beautiful!
Between 23 and 30, a woman is like Europe . Well developed
and open to trade, especially for someone of real value.
Between 31 and 35, a woman is like Spain , very hot, relaxed
and convinced of her own beauty.
Between 36 and 40, a woman is like Greece ,
gently aging but still a warm and desirable place to visit.
Between 41 and 50, a woman is like Great Britain,
with a glorious and all conquering past.
Between 51 and 60, a woman is like Israel,
has been through war, doesn't make the same mistakes twice,
takes care of business.
Between 61 and 70, a woman is like Canada,
self-preserving, but open to meeting new people.
After 70, she becomes Tibet ..
Wildly beautiful, with a mysterious past and the wisdom of the
Ages. An adventurous spirit and a thirst for spiritual knowledge.
THE GEOGRAPHY OF A MAN
Between 1 and 80, a man is like Iran , ruled by nuts.
Of course I got this in an email from - wait - a woman. Who knew?
Sunday, June 06, 2010
But, we've all known this for some time. There is nothing free on the internet. Recognizing Google as a company attempting to "own" the internet should make us as consumers at least attempt to be aware of their motives and act accordingly. Also, castigating Facebook for using the data we willingly fork over strikes me as either excessively naive or hypocritical. I'm not saying that Google is excused from their behavior - just that we need to be aware that they are not in business to do us any favors.
That said, the reaction from European governments to Google's fishing expeditions has been, well, regulatory. They're peeved. Not happy with Google at all. So, what is the solution for Germany, France and Spain?
Eric E. Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, told The Financial Times in an interview in London that within the next two days, the company would share the data with regulators in Germany, Spain and France. The data is thought to include fragments of personal information like e-mail and bank account numbers.link
So privacy concerns were the motivating force behind the respective governments' outrage? If so, why do they want the data? Were they really into the idea of protecting what their citizens would probably want concealed, perhaps they would be deleting the data.
This strikes me more as a situation where the respective governments are more upset because someone dared to tread on what they consider their fiefdom. And, since someone has already collected valuable data, why not use it - privacy concerns be damned?
Saturday, June 05, 2010
Thursday, June 03, 2010
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Beef or chicken?
I've mentioned these cow haulers before and how I'd been wanting to get a picture. I've been meeting these guys several times a week, but I've never seen one parked or had one in front of me - until today. Sorry about all the bugs on my pickup's windshield - that's just one muggy morning's worth.
Anyways, I get a big tee hee from their "advertising."
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
Remember when we didn't renew our lease on Clark Air Base and Subic Bay Naval Base? It seems the cemetery fell between the cracks of bureaucracy:
The complete story is at the link above. I emailed my Senator Pat Roberts - past efforts have shown me contacting any one else (I'm looking at you, Brownback) is largely wasted time on my part. For what we pay to jet around our Fearless Leader to golf games, we could be doing right by our veterans buried there. Even if we have to push the anti-service socialists among us kicking and screaming into being honorable.
But the cemetery has fallen through the cracks of the U.S. bureaucracy, leaving its upkeep to volunteers led by a local post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and a U.S. company based in Kuwait.
"These veterans have all but been forgotten on this special day we honor and memorialize those who have served our country," said Larry Heilhecker, commander of VFW Post 2485 and chairman of a group that has stepped in to manage Clark Cemetery. "It is a shame that this cemetery has been long neglected by our government."
Heilhecker and others attributed the problem to an oversight when the U.S. government was negotiating with the Philippines 20 years ago on new long-term leases for Clark Air Base and Subic Bay Naval Base -- two of the most prized U.S. military installations in Asia. Those talks broke down in 1991 after the eruption of the Mount Pinatubo volcano heavily damaged both bases, forcing major evacuations by the Air Force and Navy. The Air Force formally handed Clark over to the Philippine government in November 1991, and the Navy sailed out of Subic a year later.
Clark Air Base and its cemetery became the responsibility of the Philippine air force, which ceded control to the government's Clark Development Corp. But neither showed any interest in maintaining Clark Cemetery, which soon fell into disrepair. Grass was not mowed, bushes were not trimmed, flags were not flown, and vandals and looters descended on the 20-acre site. A monument was destroyed, and metal fencing around the cemetery was stolen. The air base itself fared worse, with looters hauling away everything from toilets to landing lights
If only for a moment.
H/T Dave Barry