Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The View From

The view from my room at the Aspen Meadows Resort in Aspen, Colorado. Sure beats looking at the back of the hotel facade. Oh, and if it makes you feel any better Frick, the shower still sucks.

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Sunday, January 28, 2007


An arrangement of candles in the lobby of the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, California.

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Apollo 1 Fire: 40 Years Ago Today

The Bad Astronomer, Dr. Phil Plait, pays tribute to the astronauts who perished in the Apollo 1 fire on this day in 1967.
But I’ll take this opportunity to make a point. People die. When they push back frontiers, when they explore, when they stand on the vanguard of what is known and what isn’t, the chances of catastrophe are higher. The best we can do is try as hard as we can to minimize those risks. Of course, the way to make risks absolutely minimized is to go nowhere, do nothing.

That is unacceptable. Ships are safest in the harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.

Bad Astronomy Blog - Apollo 1 fire: 40 years ago today

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Sunset January 25

On the way home.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

SoCal Malibu

Somehow the Chevy Malibu didn't seem like a classic car in the making back in the late '60s and early '70s, but as we can see in this fine example, the years have aged this design very gracefully. Upland, California.

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

A Day 39 Years In The Making

Cessna 172 tail zero two echo on the ramp at Watertown Municipal Airport, waiting on a cold Wisconsin morning.

Yesterday was a day I won't soon forget. Flying an airplane had been a dream of mine ever since the day my father took me up in a small Cessna over Macon, Georgia. The dream was interrupted on December 10, 1967 when my father was killed while at the controls of the plane he was flying. Had he lived, I am certain I would have had a career in aviation. But without him, I had no guide in that respect, and I had no idea how to break into the field. Not until much later did I realize how possible it was, but by then I had a family and no resources to change my career.

In fact, it was another deep loss, the death of my mother, that enabled me to pursue this personal goal. Beginning in April of last year, and after nearly 59 flight hours, over 200 takeoffs and landings, and a lot of sweat, I was presented with a stiff examination of my skills in the practical exam. Many times I thought I was sunk. But the examiner, a very nice older gentleman, stuck with me, saw that I capable, and approved my certificate. Waves of emotion coursed through me, and continue even as I write this. For I have, after all these years, paid my father the honor he so deserved. And with that I honor my mother, who made this pursuit possible. I only wish she were here to celebrate with me.

There are many people I would like to thank for their support. My wife, for understanding perfectly what this meant to me. My brother, who never really knew father, but did pass along his flight logs. I owe you a ride or two. To all of my readers I give thanks. My primary instructor, Adam Warnemunde; good luck with your career, I hope you get that Skywest job. Other instructors, Kevin Loppnow of Watertown, and Paul Dwyer of Santa Fe, New Mexico, who not only gave me a great mountain orientation, but fixed some landing problems I was having. All of the great people at Wisconsin Aviation. And finally to Adam Curry, whose podcast I started listening to in 2005 just at the time he earned his private certificate. His enthusiasm for aviation and joy of flying helped me realize that it was never too late to fly.

What does my flying future hold? As much pleasure flying as I can get in. Perhaps as time goes on I might be able to afford an airplane of my own, and maybe an Instrument Rating. But the major goal is accomplished. And I'm still in the clouds.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

A Pleasant Surprise

I don't actively pursue blog links. Sure it's nice to see people from all over the world stop by to check my little piece of the blogosphere, and sure it would be nice if I got more traffic, but it takes a lot of work to actively pursue blog links. So it comes as a pleasant surprise that Fatgirl of the blog From Fattie to Hottie saw my blog fit to earn a spot on her link roll. In return, I encourage my loyal readers to take a trip over and check out the story of a woman engaged in her battle to lose weight. She shares her experience and links to other people and resources that have the same goal in mind.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Night on the Savannah River

The Talmadge Memorial Bridge, Savannah, Georgia.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007


A mossy oak and a streetlight make for an ethereal photo. Savannah, Georgia.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Big Muscle

The giant heart exhibit at the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia. As seen in an earlier post, you can actually walk through this exhibit, complete with all four ventricles.

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Savannah Shadows

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Most Overrated Program In History

Notre Dame was lathered by Louisiana State last night in the Sugar Bowl by a score of 41-14. It was an NCAA record ninth straight bowl defeat for the Fighting Irish.

Let me repeat that for emphasis. It was an NCAA record ninth straight bowl defeat for the Fighting Irish.

How did this come to be? How can you lose nine straight bowl games when random chance says you should win at least four? Of course the first reason is that random chance has absolutely nothing to do with it. It is, however, all about the hype.

Hype and Notre Dame have been synonymous all the way back to the Knute Rockne era. This small school in Indiana discovered long before any other program that the secret to their success would be to build a media machine favorable to them in order to pull in the best athletes and then to deliver an exceptional product on the field. They built cross country rivalries with the military academies (and the east coast media centers) and with the University of Southern California (and the west coast media) and publicized themselves heavily. At least back then they lived up to the hype and as a result cemented their legacy with the American public.

But then the landscape changed during the 1970's as scholarship limits began to distribute more quality players across more programs. Notre Dame (and other stalwart programs) was losing its edge on the field and needed to secure its brand. The answer was to strike a major exclusive television deal with NBC for telecasts of all home games. Then, when the Bowl Championship Series was born, Notre Dame had the leverage as the last remaining major independent to demand a seat at the table. And thus the mechanism was born that would essentially guarantee huge paydays just as long as they didn't lose more than two games a year, supported by a fawning media because in those cases the media buzz would artificially inflate their ranking.

And the result? An annual mismatch in the BCS that brings in the viewers. A nine game postseason losing streak. And no end in sight. The bottom line? Notre Dame, despite its glory years in the early part of the last century, has become the most overrated college football program. Ever.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Imagine you're small enough to walk on a path through a human heart, with projectors casting an image of blood platelets passing by. I was actually sober when I walked through the giant heart, but I still got this sensation that I was very, very small.

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