Sunday, June 23, 2019

Watching the Sky*

The Missus Herself and Your Humble Scribe had the opportunity to be out and about (oot and aboot for my Canadian forebears) on Saturday, the second day of summer. 'Twas also the first day which was summer-like. Friday having been overcast and drizzly, more like spring than summer for the actual summer solstice. You get what you pay for, and the weather comes free of charge.

Anyhoo, we hopped into Big Girl and made our way north to a local shopping emporium, the idea being to cash in some aluminum cans and purchase some consumable necessaries.

On the way we noted that the skies were going all dark and stormy overhead and immediately to our north as well. We said au revoir to the sun as the rains came. Not from Africa, but from somewhere to our north. Massachusetts no doubt.

Whilst in the process of feeding four-plus bags of soda cans to the machine which eats them (and dispenses bits of paper good for real cash money in the adjoining store) the rains came and went just outside. While feeding the machine (yes, I was fantasizing that I was loading an 88 mm Panzerabwehrkanone) I could see shoppers (the majority of whom were female) waiting for it to stop raining. The males of the species were undeterred by the precipitation and sallied forth with many grumbles but also with grim determination. After all, it is but water.

How I pictured it...

Upon our return to the manse, groceries in hand and additional boxes of soda (pop to you Midwesterners, I think, insert your own local term in the comments if you wish) for to consume the liquid inside and then to feed the machine once more.

After unloading the groceries I noticed that the sky was putting on a delightful show. So I snapped a few shots with the trusty cellular device. It has a fairly decent camera and it's with me at all times. Well, except when I'm in the lab at work, that being strengst verboten, dontcha know?

A lovely day, bit of rain here and there, bit o' thunder in the distance, but nothing nearby, altogether a lovely day.

Guess I'll now go back to my deep thoughts of life and all its follies.

Ya know, navel gazing.

That last shot is after the skies above had cleared, those clouds in the distance are above Buzzard's Bay, so I figure. Said place being flown over at night with The WSO in the command seat and her instructor to the right. Dear old Mum and Dad ensconced in the back like a bit of self-loading ballast.

I could have sworn that the left main tire was flying in formation with us, which, of course, it was. Bad news if it wasn't. Upon first observation I didn't know what to make of it, a bit of darkness not as dark as the waters below. Freaked me out it did.

Have I told you that story yet? Oh yes, a quick check of the archives and here it is. I did tell you that story, six years ago.

Wow, I did speak of it again.

* More of what Beans might call, "navel gazing." Harrumph.


  1. Soda cans and 88 mm cannons.
    It's probably not only me that has opened a package, pulled out the long strip of linked air bags and thought, "This is an ammo belt for a pneumatic auto-cannon."

    "Navel gazing" may also pertain to contemplating one of those round things that is used to make a popular breakfast juice.
    That is different from Naval gazing.

    I'm heading off to read the linked post.

    Insert the usual MacArthur quote.

    Good post.

    1. I read the linked post.

      My Navy flight with the burning engine changed me from thinking that flying was cool, to me having "issues" with flying.
      And by "issues" I mean that white knuckles started when I buckled my seat belt, and then went far past white knuckles.

      I was flying on a civilian flight some years later and after takeoff the passenger in seat next to me poked my arm and said, "You're afraid of flying!" I asked her, "What gives you that idea?" And she replied, "You about ripped the armrest off the seat when we took off."
      She wasn't wrong, nor was she exaggerating.

      I realized that part of my issues were the complete and total feeling of helplessness as a passenger on the aircraft, and I started thinking that if I learned more about the mechanics of flying, I might feel better.

      This journey ended up to where I am sitting in the right seat of some kind of single engine Cessna, and the pilot is going to take off, give me a few minutes of flight instructions, and then I will have control of the aircraft.
      The pilot is a shipyard coworker with a private pilot's license.
      Shortly after we are airborne, the pilot tells me to take the yoke, and then he folds his hands on his chest and says, "You've got it."
      Nothing dramatic changes because the aircraft is trimmed for straight and level flight.
      I ask, "How responsive is this thing?" and he replies, "You have to find out."
      I push the yoke into the firewall a tiny bit and the aircraft noses down a little. Then I reverse the motion and the aircraft climbs.
      What I don't realize is that I have begun to over control, and a few seconds later I am smashing the yoke into the firewall and then pulling it towards me until the yoke smashes into the stop in the mistaking belief that I will be preventing a crash and preventing me from looping and then crashing.
      To describe the aircraft as "porpoising" is both technically correct, and yet fails to accurately describe the terror of what is going on.
      Just before the pilot removes my hands from the yoke and resumes control, I realize what I am doing and begin moderating my movements.
      A few seconds later I have the aircraft level and the pilot is laughing loudly.
      He says, "That's pretty common."
      I spent the remainder of my fifteen minutes flying an airplane.
      I neither took off, nor landed, and my turns were far from smooth.
      Understand the big thing.
      I controlled an airplane in flight! I wasn't paralyzed with fear! And this went a long way to help heal my flying issues.
      My heart rate and breathing rate was a bit elevated when I typed this, (and still is) and I sorta forgot to mention that during the porpoising there might have been a slight need for clean underwear, and there may have been more that a tiny bit of "screaming like a little girl."
      I did sweat enough to need a dry shirt.
      I can fly now with a much better mental state, but I have no intention of pursuing a pilot's license.
      I understand the feelings of those who face issues flying.

      I liked today's post, and after reading the old post and taking time to compose this comment, I'm still not exactly calm.

    2. John the 1st - Belt for an auto-cannon, oh yeah, been there, done that.

    3. John the 2nd - The aircraft, the weather, and the ground are all conspiring to kill the unwary. Your nervousness in flight is understandable. I will often be flying commercial, look out the window and think, "Now that is one long fall. I hope the plane doesn't break." But overall I love it, could I do it everyday? Who knows?

    4. John, What you experienced is Pilot Induced Oscillation (PIO in the military because....acronyms). It is common and quite often very serious. The first time I caused that, the IP asked me how many hours flying time I had. I responded with some very small number. He responded with "Well this particular aircraft has several thousand. Why don't you let it fly itself out of this before you break something. Put your hands in your lap." I did and the airplane quickly recovered. As I took the controls again afterward, I think I heard the Cessna say "Dumass!" but I could be mistaken.

      I used that technique several more times in my career.

    5. PIO is the reason for so many deaths during low altitude high speed runs back in the day, according to my dad. My dad was on one project to figure out how to stop PIO. He did not like PIO. PIO way up high, lots of room to recover (as long as someone isn't actively trying to end you.) PIO low and slow, not a lot of room to recover, but recoverable by power and up! Low and fast, great way to exceed the lower boundary of air or exceed the strength of the airframe.

      That's how I kinda remember him describing it.

    6. The PIO recovery technique at low altitude was to hold the stick slightly aft and keep it there until the aircraft stabilized. Or you hit the ground, but at that point it didn't matter any more. Low altitude and high speed was fun, but there were an awful lot more ways for your beneficiaries to collect your death benefits.

    7. Juvat the 1st - 'Tis my understanding that the aircraft knows how to fly and wants to. Glad you learned, hands in the lap, nice technique!

    8. Beans - Never want to tie the low altitude record. It's been done before, done to death quite literally.

    9. Juvat the 2nd - Hold the stick slightly aft, also doesn't help to say, "Lord, your aircraft."

    10. Thanks all, and I'm still pondering just how tuned up I got when commenting.
      Part of the reason is because we have a great reluctance to say, "I was absolutely terrified," and tend to cloak expressing that with humor.

      I just want to be in my perfectly safe engineroom, and leave this whole heavier than air flying thing to the pros.

    11. Sarge, It's about perspective and a comfort level. High pressure steam, flammable liquids, and large machines of every description haven't yet actively gone out of their was to kill me. And when they looked like they were trying to do just that, I knew exactly what to do, and had practiced it a bunch.

      I was getting to go on watch on Forrestal, and a sailor stopped outside the hatch to #1 Auxiliary Machinery Room. He asked what was down the ladders and I told him we make water and electricity and a few other odds and ends.
      His brow furrowed and he said, no thanks, but that's too dangerous.
      I asked him what he did and he said he worked in EOD. (I know you know it's Explosive Ordnance Disposal)
      He walked away while I was slowly processing what he said.

      Perspective and comfort level.

    12. Perspective, aye.

      Makes all the difference!

  2. They still have Golden Goats in Rhode Island? I haven't seen one of those in years! They were fun to feed the cans into, and hear the coins clinking out of!

    1. Well, we were in Massachusetts, no coins either, just printed slips of paper redeemable at the register.

      Golden Goats? Never heard that before, but I like it. (I also get the reference.)

    2. Here in Wiasconsin, they had automated can recycling stations, that you dropped the cans in , and it corporations into a tray, like a change machine in a laundromat. Golden Goat was the company name of the machine owners. I thought it ratherclever!

  3. Down here it's "Coke" which is followed by "Which kind?" which is followed (at least by me) with "Diet Pepsi". "Soda" is understood and tolerated somewhat given the vast problem we've had lately with immigration (Both Kinds). "Pop" would get you a funny stare and questions about your parents.

    Never even heard of a machine for recyling aluminum cans. Were there one in the vicinity, I'd be richer than Croesus! We just take all our recyling stuff to the center where some of my former students, who have been assigned x hours of community service will unload the truck and put each recylable in its appropriate bin. It is always difficult to avoid saying "I warned you...." even if I do think it. Mrs J's elbow in the ribs is always effective in preventing that comment however.

    1. In Omaha (I think, might have been Colorado) we took cans to a recycling plant where they'd weigh them and pay you cash money on the spot. As Little Rhody has no deposit on cans (but everyone around us does, and there's no bottling plant in RI) we're not receiving back a deposit, Little Rhody expects one to be all green and just turn them in on recycling day, eff that. I want money!

      I couldn't remember yesterday what Texans called that carbonated beverage in general, but yeah Coke works for me, as it's what I drink if it isn't beer.

    2. Yep, growing up in Dallas it was just 'coke' and then specifying Dr. Pepper (usually accompanied by a bag of Fritos). Just north of Sarge it is often asked for as 'tonic', and again being specified after being asked, "what kind?" That was always confusing to me as I always thought tonic had quinine in it and most often gin as well!

    3. The only DP that, to my mind, is worth drinking is Diet Dr. Pepper. Pepsi sucks, it really really sucks (to paraphrase an Adam Sandler movie...)

      As to former students and community service, they could be picking up dead animals from the highway, so recycling is a better choice. Of course, not choosing to do what one did to get community service would have been a better choice.

      Here in the Democratic People's Republic of Alachuacountystan, in the bustling capital city of Gainesgrad, we puts our recycling into the recycling bins, the recycling goes into recycling trucks, the recycling goes to the landfill and dumps into the same pile as the regular garbage. Because it's all about appearances, not function. Yay, Progressive Democratic People, fighting Global Warming for Mother Alachua! But no Garbage Rods for us (Mosin-Nagants.) :(

    4. Tom - One of my colleagues loves him some carbonated water. Another colleague calls it "TV-static flavored water."

      When I drink water, I drink water. If it's carbonated it better be beer, failing that, Coca-Cola works.

      Does everyone go through the Dr Pepper & Fritos phase? It's a good combo, at least I liked it at a younger age.


    5. Beans - It never ceases to amaze me how the planet manage to survive before progs were created, or evolved, or hatched...

      (I suspect that a laboratory deep in Siberia was involved.)

  4. Here the pop cans get recycled based on guilt, not money and have ever since I moved into this home over 27 years ago. Boy that's some montage of 88"s talking, wonder how many of those guns were produced? Weather here been overcast/rainy the last several days with temps in the low 70's. Saw a photo yesterday of someone who made a Game of Thrones throne out of pool noodles with a person sitting on it holding a noodle as a sceptre captioned .. "Winter is Coming!".

    1. Ah yes, guilt, the liberal mind killer.

      Over 21,000 88s were produced, a very useful gun!

      Heh, the pool noodles GoT reference is hysterical.

  5. We had can recycling in Santa Cruz, but it was by weight. I can recall a young man, homeless or down on his luck somehow, used to always be around with a sack of cans, ready for some cash at the local supermarket. Over the years he has grown old, but never seems to be off his route.
    BTW, how do you say "Hi Anus"?
    And for the record, small planes were simply intended to keep the sheer number of doctors and lawyers at a reasonable number.

    1. Hi Annis. Sort of.

      Small planes are for culling the professional herd? (My old doc was a pilot, he actually died of old age!)

    2. I have heard of high performance single engine planes, especially V-tail Bonanzas and also more recently some of the turboprop Pilatus planes, being referred to as 'doctor killers' ...

    3. Sarge, This whole thread reminds me of the first time we flew into New Orleans (after the merger with Delta, Western ["the ONLY way to fly"] disappeared). The controller kept clearing us "direct narlens". We two cowboys in charge couldn't figure out what he meant. I think that he was playing with us as it was the last flight in for the night.

    4. Dave - Narlens? I may have visited that benighted city once upon a time.

      I'm betting he was messing with you.

    5. Hianus... Is that where the Kennedy's vacation?

  6. What’s this pop, soda controversy.
    If I want a Coke I ask for a Coke; root beer, same; sometimes I still think I want something a little more potent, but that’s just my head trying to override common sense.
    When I get in a plane I already know I have relinquished control.
    GS used to shred my arm on takeoff.
    My paternal grandmother was even worse.

    1. Good point Skip.

      When I wake up in the morning I realize that, for the most part, I've already relinquished control. I do get to decide how many coffees I want, a small victory.

  7. When I was a kid, it's was a coke, then, like juvat said, what kind? Now I call it fizz water. No one knows what I'm talking about. I've been know to call it liquid candy, or just diabetes in a can. Like pizza is diabetes in a box.

    I went to school at LeTourneau in east Texas. They have a flight program that feeds flyers into missionary aviation, and Cessna, as well as other places. I was flying "cargo master" (dead weight in the back of a Piper Cherokee). Todd is the instructor, Joe is flying. About 1000 feet off the end of Rusk County, Todd pulls the throttle to idle, and says, "engine out". Joe says instantly, "airport behind me, lose 500 feet in a 180, pulling 2 notches of flaps and returning". So that's what we did. We floated along, touching down like a feather about halfway down the runway.... Then Joe dumped the flaps. And Todd just about blew out my eardrums, "DON"T!!!!" Too late... "I have the plane!" Flaps back on, end of the runway approaching fast, not enough airspeed to miss the 100' pines at the end of the clearing. Popped up into ground effect to miss the weeds, (my finger prints are permanently embedded under the seat frame of old 222H).... Airspeed is rising, trees getting taller, then Todd pulls the "Lear Jet Takeoff".... and I was counting loblolly pine needles individually under the gear as we lucked out (thanks to the skill of the instructor).

    He shows up in the beginning of this video:

    I still love to fly. Wish I'd been able to get a license, but never had the riches to afford a family and a money pit at the same time.

    2 notches - 25 degrees of flaps
    ground effect - floating on a pillow of air under the wings but just off the ground.
    Lear Jet takeoff - building up speed in ground effect then trading that for altitude as fast as the approaching stall will allow.

    1. Ground effect can be your friend. DAMHIK.

      I always preferred this kind of takeoff.

    2. I was wishing for burners on that takeoff. Joe was a talented pilot... Todd was.... just amazing. I hold him in the highest regard. He took me out to do spins in a Citabria on a Saturday morning. I was in heaven. It was too much fun...

      Last I talked to Todd, he is flying for Fred Smith now.

    3. STxAR - Isn't it amazing the regional variations on our "common" language?

      There's a video floating around the Tube of You of some ee-jit of a pilot trying to take off overweight, at high altitude, and apparently operating without a clue on his part.

      The takeoff roll lasts what appears to be forever, which should have been a clue right there, but he pressed it.

      The tall pines accepted him and his craft with a lot more forgiveness than should have been expected. Everyone walked away, and he got the whole thing on camera.

      There are old pilots, and there are bold pilots, there are seldom any old bold pilots.

  8. In that whole 88 video, I only saw one guy with ear protection. Given that I was pretty religious about wearing mine, and am having hearing issues ( least Mrs J thinks so), I wonder what any surviving artillery dudes hearing was like. Or maybe that was the basis for this.

    1. juvat - Are you speaking of 'marital selective hearing loss'?? If so, I have the same. It doesn't help when said marital partner mumbles while walking away from me and then wonders why I didn't understand what she said. I also supplement my audio deficiency by rudimentary lip reading, especially in noisy environs.

      I never met a WWII vet who didn't say, "What??" a lot. My dad certainly had it. And I grew up in the per hearing protection generation immediately post WWII, and my hearing, which used to be so good I was referred to as "fox ears" by my parents, is severely degraded at this point by too many loud noises in my past.

    2. Friend's father was a gunner in an M-10 tank destroyer. The shape of the turret meant that all the sound just rebounded. He said pretty much everyone in his unit was wearing hearing aids by 1955.

      It was war, nobody wore ear plugs. That would have been silly and unmanly or something. Plus, they didn't have the high quality anti-sound stuff like they do now.

      My hearing loss is from bad genes and good drugs (legal allergy meds at a young age.) Wife will mumble something, I'll ignore it, she'll increase volume until I respond and then say something like, "Didn't you hear me the first 5 times?" My response is usually something stupid and deadly (to me, that is) like, "Weren't you the one who bought me a hearing aid?" Left ear is significantly worse than right ear. Guess which ear is pointed towards her most of the time... (Why, yes, I am an exterior sphincter muscle...)

    3. Juvat - Hearing protection wasn't normally in use back in the day. A lot of old gunners have hearing problems. Rule of thumb was mouth open to equalize pressure. Protected one against burst eardrums but didn't do squat to protect one's hearing. I was a bit of a fanatic when it came to ear protection on the flightline, ear plugs AND a headset (the Mickey Mouse type which covered the mouth as well) which worked well. My hearing is still pretty good.

    4. Tom - The Missus Herself loves to initiate conversations while I'm leaving the room and she's facing the other way. She just doesn't seem to grok acoustics. :)

      I'm not surprised that a lot of WWII vets have hearing issues.

    5. Beans - Pun not intended, but I've heard of that issue with certain open-topped armored vehicles.

      As to the other thing, you like living on the edge, dontcha? (Said as one who runs along that same edge all the time, usually with scissors.)

    6. When we "checked out" in the tweet in 1961, there was no hearing protection. It was and may remain, the most annoying and loudest ramp sweeper in service (if it is still around).

    7. I remember the tweet, it was a loud little bugger!

    8. The bulk of my hearing went bye-bye in the days just before the Navy took hearing protection seriously.
      As said before, a "discussion" has been set off by soemeone's tendency to speak away from me while she is leaving the room and then turn and ask me if I heard her.
      "It's not that I'm ignoring you, I can't hear you and have the paperwork to prove it."

    9. As long as you have the paperwork, you should be fine.

      Should be...

    10. And the paperwork could be crumpled up to make a fairly adequate sofa pillow if I was foolish enough to have the "I can't hear you!" chat in any tone other than with deep feelings of love and adoration!

  9. Your navel gazing is much more productive and enchanting than mine. Usually I just see lint...

    Was wondering about Internet of Things being brought into your workspace. Wanna know how to be allowed to carry your phone in there? Just change your name to Hillary Clinton...

    Okay, that was bad.

    Rain is something we Gainesvillians learn to live with. Around 4pm every day in spring, summer and fall, we expect a 1/2 to 1 hour rain squall to come plowing through. New residents can be identified by the ones without umbrellas and running like sissies. It's just rain. Get out a bar of soap and take a free shower, for Pete's sake.

    1. Being a Clinton seems to excuse a multitude of sins. In this life. Don't know how they'll fare in the next. (Badly I sometimes hope, as un-Christian as that is...)

      I remember visiting Florida, Ft Walton Beach area. 4PM, you could almost set your watch by the afternoon squalls.

  10. Roughest commercial flight I can remember was a regional jet from Fargo, N.D. to Denver's DIA. For whatever reason, we flew circles in the summer afternoon cumulus buildup to and fro around DIA. A "proper" middle aged lady was my seatmate. Rather standoffish at the start of the trip. As we taxied into the terminal she disentangled herself from me where she had been clinging for many minutes.

    1. I seem to recall that those summer afternoon cumulus buildups generated a lot of interesting (read deadly) weather. I'd circle too.

      Sounds like the lady found a rock she could cling to, good on you WSF!

  11. From yesterday: I sent you my e-mail address. Let me know if it didn't arrive.

    Today: Nice sky/cloud photos. On the subject of hearing loss, I started out by standing about two feet in front of the A7 speakers of the r & r band I hung out with, then, in Field Artillery, ( I must be an old guy because ) we never wore hearing protection and I was in an aluminum box about 50 to 100 feet behind the gun line. By the time I moved on to jet aircraft, I wore hearing protection ( as juvat did, both plugs and muffs ), but it was far too late. It is never quiet where I am, what with the constant buzzing/ringing in my ears.

    As to flying: The one time I became ' pilot in command ', I LIGHTLY rested my hands on the wheel and my feet on the rudder pedals and let the aircraft fly itself. The O-6, who was commander of the survival school then, finally finished talking to ( and turned around facing ) the flight surgeons in the back seats, and took back the wheel ( it was a flip-flop yoke ). I enjoyed the rest of the flight.

    juvat: Don't you know that that diet stuff is much worse for you than the sugar in regular sodas/pop/fizz water/Coke? That stuff will kill you.

    In any case,

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

    1. PLQ - yes, some of the findings are saying that diet soda is bad for you. So you can drink regular soda that is bad for you or diet soda that is bad for you or water that is bad for you...

      Me? I don't like the overly syrupy texture of 'leaded' sodas.

    2. Wait a year or two, then they'll be good for you.


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

NOTE: Comments on posts over 5 days old go into moderation, automatically.