Friday, December 19, 2008

Becoming a Pilot In a Most Unusual Way

Our soldiers and sailors deployed to Iraq endure harsh conditions in the performance of their mission. Trying to beat the monotony of down time and perhaps even to take their minds off their difficult jobs is a challenge. AOPA brings us the story of a group of our finest professionals taking an opportunity to fulfill a dream.

AOPA Online: GA brings a lift to troops in Iraq

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Phil Plait's Top Ten Astronomy Pictures 2008

Dr. Phil Plait takes time out from his positively insane schedule to bring us his annual selection of top astronomy pictures for the year. 

Top Ten Astronomy Pictures of 2008 | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine

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Wisconsin Country Christmas

I've been driving the same route to and from work for more than 6 years. And, even after all this time, new things pop into view that make for wonderful moments.

To those folks who have been following me these three years, from Memphis to Melbourne (Australia), and Salem to Slovakia, I give gracious thanks. I've been in a bit of blogging decline in recent months, as other things have been drawing my focus away. I hope to get that focus back going into next year, so stayed tuned for more great content from "This Blog Title For Sale".

Happy Holidays everyone!

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Saturday, December 06, 2008

Lambert Field Passenger Terminal

I consider an airport's architecture to be timeless if it evokes the era when it was built. The main passenger terminal at Lambert - St. Louis International Airport was designed by Minoru Yamasaki and completed in 1956. That was at the dawn of the jet age, and this airport, with its soaring arched ceiling reminds you of the days when DC-3s and DC-4s, Lockheed Constellations and the early jets all mingled together on the tarmac, and travel by plane was a special event.

This is, sadly, the only redeeming feature of the airport. The expansion of the airport in the '80s were utilitarian in design, making it perhaps the most unappealing airport I've ever been to.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunset Over Eel Pond

Woods Hole in November probably doesn't look much different than in April, when this picture was taken.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

No Moving Parts

It just works. Granted, it only works part of the day, and the sun can't be obstructed. But the sundial is the ultimate in set it and forget it.

Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Eulogy for Phoenix

Phil Plait notes the probable passing of a very successful Mars lander.

This time, Phoenix won’t arise from the ashes | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Might As Well Be Talking About Creationists, Too

In his most recent post, Dr. Phil calls out an emailer for simply regurgitating something that person may have read in another email. We see it all the time, people who will cherry pick a fact, or just pass along rubbish they picked up from somewhere else. Indeed, if you substitute "global warming" with "evolution" or "9-11 truth", you'll have a quick grasp of the intellectual arguments of the day.

Greenhouse hot air | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine
And they’ve been studying it a long, long time. It’s a very difficult field of research, fraught with hidden variables, difficult measurements, and political landmines. But chances are they know more about this than you and I do. There’s a reason they’re called experts, folks.

So the next time you want to send me some snarky email to embarrass me about some piece of info you just found on the intertoobs, please do yourself a favor: stop, think for just a moment, and ask yourself: "Is this really likely to have been missed by thousands of really smart highly educated people who have been studying this field for a combined length of time equaling many man-millennia?" The embarrassment you save just might be your own.

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Freaky Show

Halloween on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, New Orleans. One of the most sensory laden, visceral experiences I've ever had. Bourbon Street is dirty, smelly, dilapidated. That is, until thousands show up for a huge outdoor party. I saw costumes of every possible description, worn by freaks, geeks, straights and queers. And the women? Unbelievable! It was all there in one decadent, pulsating moving street party. They say Mardi Gras is ten times this. I can't imagine it. Oh, and this picture was taken early. It only got better.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Along the Trail

The scene of a single car accident on US Hwy 90 between Paradis and Des Allemands, Louisiana. It's hard to tell, but the main compartment seems to be intact, and as long as the occupants were wearing seat belts, we can hope they were not injured badly.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fear, Hatred and Bigotry

This is the house at 1026 N. 4th St., Watertown, Wisconsin. A simple, single story house with overgrown bushes and weathered exterior. A 90s vintage Pontiac with a broken plastic fender sits in the gravel driveway.

You really have to wonder. What exactly was that this unfortunate person read or heard that lead to this conclusion? And what was it about this person's education and upbringing and values that processed that information to arrive at this statement?

It's boggles the mind of a rational thinking individual. But clearly not the irrational. Just what exactly does this person think will happen if in fact, Senator Obama is the anti-christ?

What kind of world do these deluded people think they're living in?

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Bermuda Morning

From the Coco Reef Resort, Paget, Bermuda.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Port of Call

A cruise ship from the Norwegian Cruise Lines at port in downtown Hamilton, Bermuda. I wish this picture could convey just how large this ship was, and I hear this isn't even in the largest class of modern cruise ship, because it wouldn't fit in the harbor otherwise.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Colin Powell Endorses Senator Obama

I've resisted political oriented posts for the last couple of weeks, but I think this video stands out as a beacon of how to conduct a rational discourse. I have admired General Powell for many years; he was III Corps Commanding General during the time I was with the 1st Infantry Division in Kansas, and followed his career as he went to theater command in Germany and then to the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the first Gulf War. His bona fides are without question.

What makes this video outstanding is that General Powell, in seven minutes and without notes, provides a clear and succinct critique of both campaigns and the strengths and weaknesses of both candidates. He then summarizes it all as he announces he will vote for Senator Obama.

It was all very good, but the best part comes at about 4:45 in. For all the bluster and the right's attempts to impose its own definition of "patriotism", General Powell reminds us all of what a true patriot really is. Thank you, General Powell.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The View From Here

Just outside the patio door of my room in Bermuda.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Rain Shafts

Those who have been following "This Blog Title For Sale" for the last 3-plus years know that I have been to some really neat place and some not-so-neat places. Last week I had the special opportunity to visit our first international client. In Bermuda. It was a great trip, but with an inauspicious start. This rain shower had just moved off the island as we made our final approach into the airport.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

McCain Asked, PolitiFact Answers

Another case of what happens when someone takes the time and effort to put the facts straight. Yes, it requires some effort from the reader to actually,

PolitiFact | A radical Ayers allegation
In short, this was a mainstream foundation funded by a mainstream, Republican business leader and led by an overwhelmingly mainstream, civic-minded group of individuals. Ayers' involvement in its inception and on an advisory committee do not make it radical – nor does the funding of programs involving the United Nations and African-American studies.

This attack is false, but it's more than that – it's malicious. It unfairly tars not just Obama, but all the other prominent, well-respected Chicagoans who also volunteered their time to the foundation. They came from all walks of life and all political backgrounds, and there's ample evidence their mission was nothing more than improving ailing public schools in Chicago. Yet in the heat of a political campaign they have been accused of financing radicalism. That's Pants on Fire wrong.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Warning! Dr. Phil Geekgasms

But how can you blame him? This is really really neat stuff!

Watermelon planet | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Morning Trails

Out on the farm near Hustisford, Wisconsin.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Connecting Information

Can you guess which monitor the Milwaukee flight is displayed on?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

For Those Who Think Everything with the First Amendment is Hunky Dory

I present to you the fine people of New Brunswick, North Carolina. Were it just an isolated case, we could all pass it off as simple folly. But then there's Texas, and Louisiana, and Florida, to name three. Just gets me all warm and fuzzy.

Daily Kos: Creationists Lay the Dover Trap On Unwary North Carolinians

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Alien Ship?

Or airport ceiling?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Don't Listen To Me, Do Your Own Research

Over the past couple of weeks, I published some posts that disclosed my position in the presidential contest. Naturally I wouldn't think that anything I say would have an effect on how someone else would think. But I've also been in contact with people who would believe what they see in a political ad, or even what they get in a chain email. So as a service to those who wish to cut through the clutter of misinformation, I offer some resources.

From the Annenberg Public Policy Center, we have, and from the St. Petersburg Times comes Both of these sites take the campaign commercials and stump speeches and analyze them to separate the truth from the spin. Anytime you see a new campaign commercial, go to one of these sites BEFORE you send that email to your friends on the latest candidate gotcha.

Finally, to put to rest those urban legends surrounding the candidates, there's the politics section of the Urban Legends Reference Pages at I hope you find all that useful.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Harvest Time

Near Watertown, Wisconsin.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

So When Did This Become A Political Blog?

This was the question posted by an anonymous commenter. And it signals to me that this person has been a regular visitor. If so, it would be nice to know who you are so that I can thank you for being a loyal reader, and perhaps we can generate some dialog.

That question is actually a pretty complicated one, so much so that I'm dedicating a whole post to it. First, the short answer is that, as the sole contributor and owner of this blog, I feel free to include whatever content as I see fit. And if you go back into my archives, you'll find any number of opinions, from soccer, to aviation and yes, on politics.

I once considered myself a moderate Republican. I think I even registered that way when I became eligible to vote at 18 in the state of New Jersey. Back then the Republican party was closer to the center while the Democrats were much farther to the left. At least that's the way it seemed to me. After the ineffectual Carter presidency, it seemed sensible to vote for Ronald Reagan, and the first vote I cast for President was for him in his reelection year of 1984. I also voted for George H.W. Bush in 1988. But by then the neo-conservative and evangelical christian forces had sunk their hooks deep into the Republican party. Then the party took majority of control of Congress led by Newt Gingrich. Any remnant of bipartisan cooperation was obliterated. When the party took a position on an issue, they claimed sovereignty of the issue. If you didn't agree with their position, then you were cast as a leftist liberal; no middle ground was given. Republicans even declared that they no longer worked for all of their consituents, they only worked for the constituents who voted for them. For myself, it was time to get off the bus.

But that isn't even the reason why I have decided to vote for Senator Obama. For me, this election boils down to an issue that is larger than any other issue being debated in this campaign, by far. It's an issue that affects our way of life and how we are allowed to pursue our freedom as envisioned by our Founding Fathers. I am referring to nothing less than our system of government and the document that created it. It's the document that I gave nine years of my life in service of its armed forces to protect. I am talking about the United States Constitution.

For those unfamiliar with the Constitution (and sadly, far too many Americans are), it lays out a system of government designed such that no one branch of the government can usurp the other branch thereby keeping a system of checks and balances. Now in case you haven't been paying attention for the last seven years, there have been numerous threats to the rule of law in this country. As excerpted from Power Play: The Bush Presidency and the Constitution by James P. Pfiffner, the Bush administration "abrogated the rule of law by taking actions not authorized by law and sometimes directly against the law." To wit:

--He created military commissions entirely within the executive branch and in doing so ignored U.S. laws that provided authority and procedures for establishing military commissions;

--He used the term "enemy combatant" to exempt the government from granting persons so labeled legal and constitutional rights;

--He denied the writ of habeas corpus to U.S. citizens as well as other detainees suspected of terrorism;

--He suspended the Geneva Conventions, which, because they were agreed to in a treaty, are the "supreme Law of the Land," according to Article VI of the Constitution;

--He authorized the interrogation of detainees using techniques that most of the world considers torture, and which violate the Geneva Conventions and U.S. law;

--He ordered the National Security Agency to monitor the communications of Americans without a warrant as required by FISA; and

--He asserted the sweeping right to ignore more than 1,000 provisions of public law because he deemed them to be in conflict with his authority as president.
The branch of our government chartered to uphold the rule of law in this country is, of course, the judiciary. Right now, the Supreme Court has four justices that are considered conservative, four that are liberal, and one who is considered a swing vote. (It is almost ironic that John Paul Stevens, an appointee of President Ford in 1975, is seen as a liberal mainstay.) From my readings and observances, it is generally agreed that a court split down the middle with a swing vote is a desirable situation. This is where things begin to get complicated. One of the neo-con right's tactics in their desire to create a theocracy in this country has been to attack the judicial system as inherently liberal (that's their cover, where else have we seen that before?) and then strive to place judges in the system that will rule to support their narrow views of basic human values. Senator McCain plans to do exactly that.

Before the end of the next president's term, no less than six justices will be over the age of 70. This includes the entire liberal wing, with Justice Stevens crossing north of age 90. What this means is that the next President will have the responsibility of appointing as few as two and as many as four or more justices to the Supreme Court. The next President will be responsible for the ideological makeup of the Supreme Court possibly for the next generation.

Forget the issues the candidates are talking about. Forget the economy. Forget the war. Forget the best shade of pig lipstick. There is no issue more important to me than the preservation of our Constitution and the First Amendment. Rights that guarantee that citizens can worship in whatever manner they choose, or not at all. Rights that keep public education free from undue influence and bias. It protects the reproductive rights of our women. It guarantees that citizens can't be held without charge. To me, the thought of a McCain Court scares the piss out of me. That is why I am voting for Barack Obama.

So there you have it. I hate politics. It's slimy, dirty, messy, practiced for the most part by liars and hypocrites. In some ways, I hope that by laying out my "manifesto", I don't have to talk about it again. So maybe this was cathartic in a way. I'm not going to tell you how to vote, but I urge you to go out with an open mind, do your research, learn the facts, and vote. Thank you.

I'll get pictures up eventually.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

She Said WHAT???

Had enough yet? Need more convincing?

Palin leaves open option of war with Russia - Yahoo! News
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin left open the option Thursday of waging war with Russia if it were to invade neighboring Georgia and the former Soviet republic were a NATO ally. "We will not repeat a Cold War," Palin said in her first television interview since becoming Republican John McCain's vice presidential running mate two weeks ago.


Monday, September 08, 2008

The Only Palin I Will Vote For

Why not? Seems they'll let anybody be on a ticket.

Michael Palin for President

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

President Palin

Say those words to yourself. Then read the linked article. Then read this. Folks, this woman scares the living crap out of me. Seriously, I never had such a visceral reaction in my whole life.

So, after reading up, and as you enter the ballot booth November 4, say to yourself "President Palin" and then cast your vote.

Crosscut Seattle - About Sarah Palin: an e-mail from Wasilla
There has to be literally millions of Americans who are more knowledgeable and experienced than she.

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Monday, September 01, 2008


A building facade in the Lacledes Landing section of St. Louis, Missouri.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Shadows of a Type

Over more than 15 decades, the building had witnessed many seasons. For a large amount of that time, it had company. And now it continues the journey alone once again.

Annapolis, Maryland.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Why Has This Become What It Is?

I could personally not care less about who a president is married to or that he or she is married at all. What the hell does spousal choice have to do with qualifications for office? Is the electorate that stupid?

Potential first ladies important to voters -
"You cannot separate the overall impression of a candidate from their spouse any more than you could separate a candidate from his regional accent or his age or the color of his skin, the membership of his political party," says Carl Sferrazza Anthony, who has written several books about first ladies.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Will The Truthers Finally Give Up?

Of course they won't. But that won't let the facts stop them from insisting that the government is behind everything. Years after their twin towers theories had been debunked, they hung their hats on the theory that the gubmint blew up 7 World Trade Center intentionally. And the thing that they never could give a plausible explanation to was, why? And yet, they grind along, with a story that's more interesting than the facts support. It's time to move on.

Government scientists rebut conspiracy theories, say fire brought down trade center building --

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Illumination Old School

A headlamp from an antique Ford Model T as seen on display in Hartford, Wisconsin.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Look! A Panda!

On a recent trip to San Diego, I had the opportunity to visit the wonderful San Diego Zoo. This is one of the zoos that the Chinese government has allowed to keep pandas, so this is not a common sight.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Igniting a Passion?

After my father's death, my mom, brother and I moved to northern New Jersey, right under the final approach path to Teterboro Airport. Day after day, countless airplanes flew down the street, and I just had to stop and look up at every one of them. One day, the Goodyear Blimp passed overhead, and it was so low I could swear I could reach up and touch it!

Here, two youngsters observe the departure of 55 Piper Comanches leaving Watertown Municipal Aiport for Oshkosh and the EAA AirVenture. Could these be future aviators?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Incident at Watertown Municipal

At about 3:45 pm this afternoon, a Cirrus airplane, reported to have 2 aboard, attempted a landing on runway 29 at Watertown Municipal Airport. The airplane appeared to abort the landing and lost control as it tried to climb out, veering to the left and crashing into a row of hangers. It is not known the extent of injuries at this time to those on board or any on the ground. It is very fortunate that the plane crashed there as it just missed crashing into 15 to 20 parked aircraft on the ramp that were assembled in preparation to travel to Oshkosh tomorrow. More information as I get it.

UPDATE: So far it has been reported that 2 people were aboard and both suffered non-fatal injuries although their exact condition is not known. This was a terrifying incident; Watertown was hosting a Piper Comanche gathering, and 3 dozen planes were parked on the ramp just behind my vantage point. Additionally there were several dozen people gathered in the main hanger for a barbeque. It could have been a disaster.

UPDATE 2: The occupants of the plane were a man and his wife. The injuries have been reported as non-life threatening. The plane was a Cirrus SR-22, which is equipped with seatbelt airbags. Those airbags may very well have saved two lives today. Very good news indeed.

FINAL UPDATE: A hero emerged from the incident yesterday. Curtis Loontjer, an employee of Wisconsin Aviation (the Fixed Based Operator), acted quickly and without regard for his own safety when he went into the crash and rescued the airplane's occupants. If not for his efforts, there would be no happy ending. A picture as published in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel can be found here. As you can see, nothing remains but the engine and firewall. My favorite rental plane, a Cessna 152, is in the background. Also of note, the Cirrus is equipped with a ballistic recovery parachute powered by a rocket booster. During the incident, the booster cooked off and fired, causing some very scary moments. Something will need to be done to reduce the risk of cookoff in these boosters in the future.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Every Young Aviator's Dream

I have seen the Navy Blue Angels just once in my life thus far, back in 1982 at Lakehurst NAS, New Jersey. Back then they flew the old A-4F Skyhawk, not one of the more memorable jet fighters, but awesome all the same.

Brian Terwilliger is a film maker who has taken his passion for aviation and put it on film in his critically acclaimed "One Six Right". Earlier this year, he was offered a ride in one of the Angels' F/A-18 Hornets and he takes us along for the ride.

I'm off for vacation for a week, and I will be attending EAA Airventure Oshkosh for the very first time. It's yet another thing I've wanted to do my whole life. I hope to have plenty of material when I get back. Meanwhile, enjoy the film.

Flying Full Circle | A Dream Come True Ride with the Blue Angels

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Oriole Park at Camden Yards

I had been looking forward for a long time for the opportunity to visit this fine ballpark. Oriole Park was groundbreaking as the first of the "retro-modern" line of baseball stadia built in the last 15 years. It's success launched a series of similar stadia with distinctive features and built in downtown areas that highlighted that city's classic buildings.

I found Oriole Park to be everything it's advertised to be. Other than some slight weathering of the seats, the park still shines like new.

By the way, can you name the players who wore those numbers for the Orioles?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Moon Day

Thirty-nine years ago today, mankind changed forever. Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer, shares his thoughts.

Myself, I was a young lad of five. I distinctly remember where I was that day. It was at my aunt and uncle's cabin near a lake somewhere in New Jersey. The reception was a little shaky, but I was awestruck when the caption on the television said "Live From the Moon".

Tranquility Base | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine
We were no longer bound to one planet, one place, troglodytes adhering to the surface of Earth. We became a space-dwelling species.

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Thankfully, not one of the hotels that I stay in on the road.

Dothan, Alabama.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Grand Rapids

The central concourse of Gerald R. Ford International Airport, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Smaller airports always more pleasurable than the large ones. Must have something to do with far fewer passengers per square foot.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Mr. Steenland, You Want Me To Do What?

Doug Steenland is the CEO of Northwest Airlines. I received an email recently from NWA, asking for my help. I laughed so hard that I peed my pants. Here is my response:

Dear Mr. Steenland,

I am writing in response to an email you sent to me on behalf of your fellow airlines, asking me, one of your customers, to assist in your quest to have Congress act on your behalf to combat what you claim to be rampant speculation in the oil markets and help keep your costs down. You played to my feelings by suggesting that if nothing is done to curb energy prices, dire consequences are in store and that we must all band together in this time of need.

Are you fracking kidding me? YOU want ME to weigh in on YOUR behalf?

Ok, Mr. Steenland, let's make a deal. Before I do anything for you, you must agree to do some things for me. After all, I AM one of your customers.

You will remove hidden fees from your business model. If oil is high, just price your airfares to reflect that. Don't try to use services as a profit center. Fifteen dollars for the first bag, $250 dollars for rebooking. Some service. How do I know that you're not going to start charging me for the ability to change my seat assignment? You already charge extra for certain select seats. You know what this practice reminds me of? Yes, your attempt to have Congress make money for you by rigging the budget for the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Airspace System, even if it threatened to drive the General Aviation industry to extinction. You wanted to set up a controlling board, away from congressional oversight, that would impose fees at will on the general aviation industry for the use of airspace. Good thing we caught you on that, because it's clear this is where you would have headed with it.

Next, you will fly your schedule on schedule. Quit trying to put more than one plane on the same spot on the runway at the same time and hoping the weather cooperates. Maybe then you'll get your planes to their destination more than the current on-time rate of around 75%. You might save some fuel and make your CUSTOMERS a little happier.

Oh, I almost forgot. How about getting my luggage to my destination when I arrive? In the last year, I've taken roughly 100 trips, and my bag did not make the plane 3 times. That is completely unacceptable. So get my bag there, and you'll save some money on couriers and even save some gas in the process. Fancy that.

Mr. Steenland, you and your cohort have miles and miles to go before you convince me that this latest ploy was little more than a cynical attempt to play upon our emotions for your gain. You have shown no inclination over the last decade to do anything for your customer except demonstrate that you could not care less about us. I have my own interests to look after with the high cost of oil, but I'll be DAMNED if I'm going to go to Congress to help you out.

I hope this letter finds you in good health.


Richard Fraser
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Monday, July 07, 2008

Minnesota Thunder

Huge amounts of energy are tied up in a thunderstorm. If there were only a way to harness it, a kind of energy harvester that moved with these storms to catch the lightning, the ice from hail, even a generator driven by the downpour. It can happen.

Willmar, Minnesota.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Old Glory

From the staff of "This Blog Title For Sale", we hope you enjoy the celebration of this, the 232d anniversary of the birth of our nation.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Happy Tunguska Day!

Today is the 100th anniversary of an event that is still controversial to this day, the Tunguska Event. While believed to have been caused by a meteor, the lack of a crater and rock fragments has led to as many conspiracy and supernatural theories as any other event or phenomenon. Read more about it at the Bad Astronomy Blog.Technorati Tags: , , ,

Bad Astronomy Blog » 100 years ago today: KABLAM!!!!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Our Mark Twain Has Moved On

George Carlin died today. I wasn't going to blog about it, seeing as just about everybody else probably has by now. But PZ Myers posted this video from him on his blog, and I just couldn't let his passing go without giving my thoughts. George Carlin was that rare individual, just like Mark Twain, whom despite what you thought about his politics, could say things that were very controversial yet get you to laugh about it. Then, after you're done laughing, you realize that you can't argue with the logic. He was an equal to the greatest philosophers in history, yet his medium was comedy. And that's what we'll miss about George Carlin. He made you THINK.

Here's a clip of George on a topic near and dear to many. Of course you can make a case for hypocrisy, seeing as he played Rufus, a god-ish character, in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. Whoa. Oh yeah, NSFW. But you knew that.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

It Must Have Been Ice

The Phoenix Mars lander has found what it was sent to Mars to find. Ice.

Phoenix Mars Mission -
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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Water Everywhere

We are having an epic spring this year, as this flooded wayside near Ixonia, Wisconsin shows. For more pictures of flooding in Jefferson County, click here.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Prarie Sentinel

Cosmos, Minnesota 56228

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Car in Lot

Dothan, Alabama.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Mammatus on a Hot Spring Evening

Thunderstorms were menacing the area for a couple of hours, but it wasn't until after dinner and I was driving around town when the sun hit the right spot. All of a sudden I'm scurrying to find a place to park with an unobstructed view. And there it is. More about mammatus clouds here.

Dothan, Alabama.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

So Now What Will the Airlines Say?

A new report from the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress, has issued a study investigating the issue of commercial airline delays.
The vast majority of air-traffic delays in 2007 occurred before airplanes took off for flight. Almost 60 percent of delays occurred at the gate, while 20 percent of flight delays occurred while taxiing out to the runway. Only about 15 percent of the JEC estimated total delay occurred during airborne minutes.

The airline executives continue to snivel about how the airspace systems needs overhaul, but it's a smokescreen to make their case to take over the national airspace system at the expense of the general aviation industry. This report is another example of proof that all the airlines have to do to find the reason for their unprofitability is to look in the mirror.
.: Joint Economic Committee :: Reports :.
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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Very Late Winter Scene

I've been way behind, as you can see, on getting my photos posted. This photo really wasn't taken that long ago, just March. But alas, the rest of the set will probably have to wait until the time is right again. I guess I just said that I'd be keeping the blog going for at least that much longer.

Aspen, Colorado.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Most Amazing Picture Ever Taken

You are the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. You are in orbit around Mars. You receive orders to point in a specific direction, and take a picture. What shows up is the Phoenix lander UNDER PARACHUTE as it descends toward the surface and its successful landing. Show me a picture of a commercial jetliner shot by a spy satellite, except with both objects 150 MILLION miles away! And BOTH objects are moving faster than a speeding bullet!! Are there enough exclamation points to portray how amazing this is!!!

Tip o' the chute to Dr. Phil.

OMG!! Parachute!!!! Photo!!!!! - The Planetary Society Blog | The Planetary Society

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Today's Weird Story

Comes to us from Vancouver, Canada.
He added that there are beaches that collect mostly rights and others that collect mostly lefts because the winds or currents sort out left and right foot wear.

Fourth severed foot found on B.C. coast - Seattle-

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

From the Bad Astronomer

It takes a great bit of luck to catch a supernova just when it explodes. That happened recently, and Dr. Phil writes about it. It's really freaking cool.

The hemoglobin in your blood, the bones in your body, and the
wedding ring on your finger — all of these can trace their lineage back
to a star that exploded like SN2008D. Every heavy element in the
Universe was created in such an event, in the heart and fury of a

We owe our very existence to stars that explode.

Bad Astronomy Blog » Birth cry of a supernova

Sunday, May 18, 2008

View From Blue Mound

This is the view from the top of Blue Mound, in the state park of the same name west of Madison, Wisconsin. Elevation 1,716 feet, seventh highest in the state.

What a great weekend. Even with the rain showers Friday night, and some heavy showers Saturday night, I would call the weather perfect.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Got Legs?

Display window of a hosiery shop on Cannery Row, Monterey, California.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Start of Another Season

This weekend, the new action movie "Speed Racer" opens across several thousand screens. In state of the art movie (and IMAX) theaters across the country, viewers will enjoy the film in living room comfort, with the latest thundering surround sound THX technology beating them into their stadium seats.

Not in Litchfield, Minnesota. Here, around dusk, cars will be heading up the grass lined drive at the Starlight Drive-In to pay $6 for adults and $3 for children for the privilege of parking on a grass lawn (bring your own bug spray). The sound will only be as good as your car stereo, and don't forget to load up on the redhots and popcorn from the refreshment stand (outside food and drink is NOT allowed).

Reminds me of my youth, taking Henny to the drive in and maybe catching half of the first feature before the windows fogged up. Good times.

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Friday, May 02, 2008

San Jose Airport Holiday Inn, Room 124

Some things cause me to involuntarily reach for the camera, no matter how mundane. I hope you see what I saw in the bathroom of my hotel room that night.

Monday, April 28, 2008

And Now For Something Completely Different

Driving south out of Boston after arriving at Logan International Airport on Interstate 93, the traffic began to slow. Rounding a corner, smoke was rising from near the highway. There was a fire! The camera was in the passenger seat, so I quickly turned it on and captured this image of a fully involved Ford Taurus station wagon. And you were there!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Megastar 2.1

This week, I had the pleasure of taking the family to see Blue Man Group perform their "How To Be A Megastar 2.1 Tour" show at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wisconsin. We've been fans of Blue Man Group for some time, and having missed their show in Milwaukee last year, jumped at the chance to see them in Madison this time around. We even decided to splurge the extra money to get floor seats, and we weren't disappointed.

We were familiar with their work from seeing their prior concert shows on television, and we own their CD "The Complex". We were lucky enough to score floor seats in row 7 even though I ordered the tickets the day after they went on sale.

The show was a rework of "The Complex" tour, with an instructional video providing a loose structure to the show. A monotone, unseen announcer directs the Blue Men on their way as well as engaging the audience. The Blue Men themselves use intense eye contact to draw the audience into the show. During one sketch, one Blue Man chucks marshmallows out into the crowd. He turned toward our section and I actually stood up and pointed to my mouth! He tossed a marshmallow at me and I tried to catch it in my mouth only to have it glance off my cheek!

Most of the music in the show was from their CD "The Complex" with some additional music (notably a cover of The Who's "Baba O'Riley") and it was expertly played by a backup band consisting of 3 percussionists, 2 guitarists, a bassist, keyboardist and vocalist. The show lasted just over 90 minutes and there were no noticeable breaks. It was nonstop from beginning to end. There were only about 6,000 in attendance, which was a little bit of a downer, and the vibe was different than your big time arena act. But this was a different experience than just a pure rock show. This was performance art, comedy, music, and a bit of theater. We had a blast. It was well worth the money. I do hope that BMG will put together another album of original work ("The Complex" was released in 2003) and create another concert show.

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What Bugs Me

Is that smart people are being treated as abnormal. Why bother getting educated (to the tune of thousands of $$) and specializing in a field of study only to have some ideologue dismiss your whole academic career by a mere wave of the hand?

… it seems “rather elitist” that people with academic degrees in health think they know better than parents what type of sex education is appropriate. “I don’t think it’s something we should abandon,” he said of abstinence-only funding.

Those the words of Rep. John Duncan (R-TN). Folks, if you live in Tennessee and he's your congresscritter, you owe it to yourself and your family to vote this clown out of office. He is doing you a great disservice. More at the Bablog.

Bad Astronomy Blog » Being reality-based is elite?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Next Time Somebody Offers You a Ride In a Small Plane

Readers of "This Blog Title For Sale" are probably aware that I am a certificated private pilot. From time to time people will ask me just how safe is flying small planes, and naturally the answer is, quite safe. Now I can say that it's safer than ever to fly in a small plane, with fatalities reaching a 40-year low in 2007. Why is that? We in the pilot community know that aviation is one of the most intensely scrutinized industries anywhere. When an accident happens, chances are you'll read about it or see it on television. We, as a community, go to great lengths to make this activity as safe as possible.
NTSB Chairman Mark Rosenker commented that pilots cannot afford to become complacent. “We must continue to take the lessons learned from our investigations and use them to create even safer skies for all aircraft operators and their passengers,” he said.
We strive to do exactly that. No operator of a public conveyance is required to complete as much training and assessment as are pilots. When traveling on commercial airliners, the folks in front will have passed at least 5 and likely several more flight examinations to get where they are. Compare that with your bus driver, truck driver or, for that matter, every other driver on the road. And you have our word that we are trying to make 2008 even safer. Read more by clicking on the link below.

AOPA Online: NTSB notes big drop in GA fatalities

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I have been following for some time now the build up to the release of a purported "documentary" about how a recently contrived alternative "theory" of the rise of life on earth should somehow be given equal treatment in schools. The problem with "Intelligent Design" is that it suggests that many constructs of biology are so complicated that they could only have been placed by a "creator". Additionally, these ID proponents want this taught in science classes as an alternative to the Theory of Evolution as originally described by Charles Darwin. It's a problem because since ID claims a supernatural origin to life on earth, it can't be proven by scientific means. It is therefore not science.

But that hasn't stopped certain ID proponents from doing all they can, including misleading, lying and deceiving to put their little theory in front of as many gullible people as they can. They made their little movie under false pretenses, then carefully controlled (or tried to, with hilarious complications) who was able to view the pre-release version of the movie. Now, the producers are releasing the movie theatrically, but only in areas in which they know they will find favorable audiences.

Now I'm not going to tell you to not see the movie, since I haven't seen it myself (nor do I plan to). You will also notice that I avoided giving you the title of the movie. But I have included a link below to a website with more information about the movie, and exactly what the producers did to bring this abortion to the screen. Warning: If you liked Ben Stein for his eyedrop commercials, you're going to be very disappointed.

Expelled Exposed

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Kickin' Cajun

Broussard's Cajun Cuisine, Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Best cajun north of Louisiana. Shrimp etouffee and fried alligator. Outstanding!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I guess I forgot that I do three quarters of my flying on Northwest, with Delta and Midwest picking up the rest. So, with the long awaited merger announced, I need to prepare for the inevitable.

On the other hand, I suppose I can get used to seeing more of this lady VERY quickly.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

The New Delta Airlines

This just in to my email inbox:

As a valued Northwest Airlines customer and WorldPerks(R)
member, I wanted you to be among the first to hear that we have
announced a merger with Delta Air Lines. Subject to regulatory
review, our two airlines are joining forces to create America's
premier global airline which, upon closing of the merger, will
be called Delta Air Lines.

By combining Northwest and Delta, we are building a stronger,
more resilient airline that will be a leader in providing
customer service and value. Our combined airline will offer
unprecedented access to the world, enabling you to fly to more
destinations, have more flight choices and more ways than ever
to earn and redeem your WorldPerks miles.

You can be assured that your WorldPerks miles and Elite program
status will be unaffected by this merger. In addition, you can
continue to earn miles through use of partners like WorldPerks
Visa(R). And once the new Delta Air Lines emerges you can look
forward to being a part of the world's largest frequent flyer
program with expanded benefits.

The combined Delta Air Lines will serve more U.S. communities
and connect to more worldwide destinations than any global
airline. Our hubs - both Delta's and Northwest's - will be
retained and enhanced. We will be the only U.S. airline to offer
direct service from the United States to all of the world's
major business centers in Asia, Latin America, Europe, Africa
and around North America.

Both airlines bring tremendous strengths to this new
partnership. Our complementary service networks form an
end-to-end system that is truly greater than the sum of its
parts. This is a merger by addition, not subtraction, which
means all of our hubs - both Northwest's and Delta's - will be
retained. In addition, building on both airlines' proud,
decades-long history of serving small communities, we plan to
enhance global connections to small towns and cities across the

All of these positive benefits of our combination mean that we

1. Offer a true global network where our customers will be able
to fly to more destinations, have more schedule options and more
opportunities to earn and redeem frequent flyer miles in what
will become the world's best and most comprehensive frequent
flyer program.

2. Continue to serve our current roster of destinations and to
maintain our hubs in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Memphis,
Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York, Salt Lake City, Amsterdam and

3. Improve our customers' travel experience, through new
products and services including enhanced self-service tools,
better bag-tracking technology, more onboard services, including
more meal options, new seats and refurbished cabins.

While we work to secure approval of our merger, which may take
up to 6 to 8 months, it will be business-as-usual at both
airlines. We will continue to operate as independent airlines
and the people of Northwest will remain focused on providing you
with the very best in safe, reliable and convenient air travel.
At the same time, both airlines will be planning for a seamless
integration of our two airlines, one that delivers to you the
enhanced benefits that will earn - and retain - your preference.

As we work through this process, we will keep you informed at
every step along the way. Thank you for your business and we
look forward to serving you on your next Northwest flight.


Bob Soukup
Managing Director, WorldPerks

So there you have it. Stay tuned.

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

There's Hope Yet For Reality Television

If, that is, one of the myriad television networks out there greenlights this pilot. But wouldn't it be nice that, in a world of ghost shows and UFO hunters, we finally get REAL investigation? I sure hope so.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Self Portrait

You may need to move farther away from the screen to make out my image.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Security Line

I reckon I should consider myself lucky that these line ropes aren't brimming with humanity this day. But it does get one to wondering, why should it ever get this bad? (That's a rhetorical question, folks.)

John Wayne-Santa Ana Airport, California.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport, Minnesota.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Casino

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is an oceanfront amusement park in Santa Cruz, California. Founded in 1907 and operated by the family-owned Santa Cruz Seaside Company, it is California's oldest surviving amusement park and one of two seaside parks on the West Coast of the United States (the other being the Santa Monica Pier).

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Santa Cruz Harbor

Sailboats wait for their day. Heh, sailboats. Get a motor.

Santa Cruz, California.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

An Iconic Writer Enters A New Dimension

From Dr. Phil at the BAblog, I learn of the death of Arthur C. Clarke, after a long illness at the age of 90. One of the last of a generation of writers (which included Ray Bradbury(still with us), Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert and others) who not only defined the genre of modern science fiction, but stoked the imaginations of generations of young people around the world to look outside of the confines of our home planet as well as questioning traditional belief.

Bad Astronomy Blog » Arthur C. Clarke, 1917 - 2008

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Estep Used Cars and Portable Buildings

If it's Amish built, you know it's quality.

Pikeville, Kentucky.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Fresh Coat

Back in June of last year, I blogged about a weathered (one reader called it "rustic") sign that greets all travelers to the Tri State Region. Now I'm not sure if that picture embarrassed the local leaders, but in any case, they took action to make the sign better. That's right, there's nothing that a coat of paint can't fix. Now THAT'S state of the art.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Stepptown Feed Store

Stepptown, West Virginia.

I received a comment (thank you!) on the previous post about how grim this region is. The thing was, there were no shortage of scenes like that. It was hard to take pictures because there was a new scene around every corner. It's hard to select a scene to shoot when they all are stark. It's tough here. Really, really tough.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

But There's A Light On For You

The drive from Huntington, West Virginia to Pikeville, Kentucky run through some of the most poverty ridden areas I've ever traveled through. Sorry if the blog seems down for the next few posts.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


Even in a busy airport, sometimes you are the only one on the tram. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Monday, March 03, 2008

AMH Seacoaster

Say hello to my weekend yacht.

Not buying it, huh?

This exotic looking piece of aluminum is the AMH Seacoaster, a technology testbed built by a company hoping to win big time Navy contracts. From what I could tell, the contractor wanted to show that this technology would be used to move large amounts of personnel and materiel rapidly over great distances into ports not large or deep enough for standard transport ships. I could not find anything to indicate whether the Navy actually bought it.

Panama City, Florida.

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