sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Sunday, August 31, 2014


That's the percentage of private sector employees who are represented by a labor union. 6.7% - that's it. Big Labor no longer represents private-sector workers' interests. Instead, it has become nothing more than a big government shill that puts hard hats on to capture a public relations illusion from decades past. (IBD)

Should we discontinue Labor Day or might it be better to change the name to something more appropriate? Party Day! Trying to show that labor unions represent private sector workers these days is more or less like putting lipstick on a pig.
Before you begin to delve too deeply, recall that September 11 is the day that President Obama designated that we celebrate community organizers. Did anything happen on that day? The World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks by radical Islam 2001, The Benghazi Massacre 2012? Who would know. America follows the President's lead in putting all that behind us because it happened "a long time ago". As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said so memorably, "At this point, what difference does it make?"
Today's Big Labor supports politicians who are committed to destroying unionized mining jobs through the EPA, scoff at the value of more than 10,000 union jobs created by building the Keystone XL pipeline, and actively push for amnesty for illegal aliens who can only drive down the cost of labor, hurting wages. The gravy train these days can be found in public employee unions. A public-sector oriented union's focus will naturally be on helping politicians who support expanding the size and scope of government, even at the expense of the private-sector workforce.

Most Americans will not be thinking about any of that tomorrow when they're at the beach, in the mountains or having what fair weather fun they can before winter asserts itself. Absent that, they will be in the malls celebrating back-to-school sales or other incentives to spend money. It's the beginning of the NFL and college football seasons.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Teaching Children to Fish

When my girls were young, we spent time in the ocean on my boat -- most weekends, weather permitting. The boat slept 6 comfortably and thus, it was essentially boat camping, usually 25 miles off shore in the lee of Catalina Island. I had a small inflatable dingy with a small motor on it and we could motor into Avalon for ice cream or pizza if the craving hit.

They loved to go fishing. Mostly it was the bragging rights. I don't have a scanner handy and back then photos were paper, not electrons in the digital sense of photos. I'm posting a few photos that I have scanned in from that era. Sadly, I don't have any with them posing with their fish to show the kids at school. Their regular hauls were impressive. They were never skunked.

This is how it worked.

I put on SCUBA gear and kicked over the side, with the fishing line in tow and a fresh squid on the hook. I had a black light that caused the monofilament to glow so that I could keep track of it and keep from getting tangled.

I would hunt for the perfect fish, offer the squid and the kids hauled them to the surface. They took turns. They thought that's what fishing was all about.

Now that they're older and they have a better concept of fishing, they still feel cheated if they don't catch one trophy fish after another. Did I ruin my daughters for all time when it comes to fishing? Quite possibly.

More recently, my younger daughter went fishing and expressed to her boyfriend that, "fishing with daddy was far more fulfilling." Young men who wish to measure up need to buy a boat and SCUBA gear. Go big or go home.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Daily Outrage


Outside of the US, the Obama Administration is viewed outside of the US as being completely incompetent. My default setting is to defend the US in almost any situation. However when it comes to our handling of the Caliphate, it's difficult to step in there waving an American flag with any degree of credibility.

The only place where President Obama has any credibility is among his own people, because as you all know, the American voters returned him to office for a second term. Elsewhere in the world, people simply scratch their heads in amazement. The Americans, who can send men to the moon and build an "invisible" airplane, can't tell a fraud when they see one. 

Mandarins in the Pentagon are spending sleepless nights casting chicken bones and reading tea leaves to determine whether ISIS (and the Muslim World) is a threat to the security of the US. They could simply read history going back to Charles Martel and Charlemagne...but that would be far too simple. Those are the same people who feel that history shouldn't be included in the Common Core curriculum, possibly because history is clearly Islamophobic.

Historical precedent notwithstanding, the US and the rest of the world still needs to figure out how they want to deal with the Caliphate. This president loves Islam. So don't look for leadership anywhere but on the putting green.


Newly released Census data reveals nearly 110 million Americans – more than one-third of the country – are receiving government assistance of some kind.

The number counts people receiving what are known as “means-tested” federal benefits, or subsidies based on income. This includes welfare programs ranging from food stamps to subsidized housing to the program most commonly referred to as “welfare,” Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.  (Fox News)

No society will survive wherein you have to rely on a smaller and smaller group of wealth producers to support more and more people who are not contributing to that wealth.


The news today is rife with companies either leaving California for another state (such as Ashima Devices) or companies leaving the USA (Burger King enroute Canada) because the US has the highest corporate tax in the world.

I was shocked in visiting Norway that their taxes are LESS than in the US. I didn't think that would be the case. In Norway, that applies to both citizens and corporations.

I guess that all that freedom I enjoy does indeed require a hefty price tag.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Big Move 2 Big Little City

This is representative coverage of the press conference that was held at Reno-Stead Airport yesterday with Governor Sandoval and a number of Nevada luminaries. Some of you asked for links. Now it's official, is moving its headquarters and manufacturing presence to Reno, NV. Most of the research and development will remain in Pasadena, CA (near Cal Tech and JPL) for the next few years.


Reno Gazette Journal:

Police Work - Who says it can't be Fun?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Missing People in Mexico

They never roll the fire department for a wash-down in Mexico
I have always wondered why. It's S.O.P. in the USA.
I don't go down to Mexico much anymore. No reason to. I did it for work back when--and I don't do that work anymore. Three months after Mexican authorities triumphantly announced a dramatic reduction in the officially-recognized number of "disappeared", they have walked this back significantly. Read on below the TV Series part for more on that.

There is a TV Series on Fox called, "The Bridge". It's a very good television series and the drug lord that they feature, "Fausto Galvan" is based loosely on a bad guy that I know personally. I recommend watching it. It's in the second season so you should try and watch the first season to get the show in context. It takes just a bit of getting used to. Watch two or three episodes before you make up your mind.

Now onto reality from art, which is roughly the same thing. Yesterday, Assistant Attorney General Mariana Benitez announced to reporters that the number of Mexicans who disappeared since the country’s drug war began in 2006, according to official calculations, is 22,322. In May, Interior Minister Miguel Osorio Chong put the figure at 8,000. So which is it, and why the seemingly massive difference? 
Assistant Attorney General Mariana Benitez said 12,532 people went missing during the 2006-12 administration of President Felipe Calderon, who declared war on drug traffickers. An additional 9,790 have disappeared since President Enrique Pena Nieto took office on Dec. 1, 2012.

Benitez said that the list of people reported missing during Calderon's government had gone up to 29,707, but that authorities arrived at the figure of 12,532 still missing after finding the rest alive or confirming their deaths.

She said a second list started with the Pena Nieto government showed 23,234 people reported missing between Dec. 1, 2012, and July 31, 2014. She said 13,444 of those had been located, leaving 9,790 still missing.
Of course, the news suggests that Osorio Chong provided a completely misleading account of the number of new disappearances since Enrique Peña Nieto took office (in May, he said roughly 3,000 had gone missing in 2013 and early 2014 ). Under normal circumstances this would be scandalous, but the plain truth is that that the Peña Nieto administration, like the Calderon administration before it, has consistently relied on using misleading statistics to cast its security strategy as a success.

But even setting this aside, the new numbers are unsettling on their own terms. Assuming Benitez’s account is accurate, 23,234 people have been reported missing in less than two years under Peña Nieto, compared with 29,707 over the course of six years under Calderon. That means that disappearance reports, if they remain stable, are on track to more than double those under the previous government. 


Now factor into this the arguments pro and con over whether to secure America's southern border. Then again, maybe I'm being far to subtle in making my argument.

NOTE: President Obama claims 2 million deportations because the Obama Administration changed the way deportees are counted. Obama said anyone turned back at the border and denied entry into the US is counted as a person being deported. Does this sound right to you? They never set foot in the US and are counted as being deported.

There may be moments when I'm a huckleberry, but not this time.

Monday, August 25, 2014


Lake Tahoe run, an after-action report.

But before Tahoe, I will bring you up to date, dear readers.

Today (Monday), I'm filming Nevada Newsmakers on Fox News (NV) with Sam Shad. He'll interview me and I'll end up on the air in this coming Wednesday, 8/27. I'll be talking about unmanned aerial vehicles and Ashima Devices setting up a factory in Reno, NV. Yes, it sounds boring to me too. I hope that Sam doesn't crucify me. I met with him last Friday for a few minutes to give him some background information. He seemed nice then. Hopefully he's "fair and balanced".

Tomorrow (8/26) there will be a press conference in Reno with Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval where the new factory will be discussed. It will be carried by ABC/CBS/NBC/Fox Reno. I have no idea whether or not the news will get beyond that market. It's a big deal for me personally but as the world turns, it's a lot like a pebble dropping into a puddle.

Saturday, before I went to the off-road races, I took the Raptor for a run around Lake Tahoe. It's not much of a challenge on hardball roads, but the Raptor rides like it's on rails no matter where you take it. So this is my Tahoe travelogue (on the heels of cruising Oslo Fjord). Woodsterman (famous blogger) lives here at Tahoe. Poor Woodsterman. I guess somebody has to live here...
Context: Tahoe is a large lake, located along the border between California and Nevada. It's the largest alpine lake in North America, the second deepest lake in North America (1,600 ft) and the largest lake by volume in the US behind the five great lakes. There are gambling casinos and resorts on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe, and mansions on the California side. 

Sunday - a return to the scene of the crime with meetings in Tahoe with some people who will be marketing my aircraft in the Far East and just hanging out - yes, still a road trip but a business related one. All work and no play keeps LL boring.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Glory is Fleeting (but obscurity is forever)

From the feature film: Patton
"For over a thousand years, Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of a triumph - a tumultuous parade. In the procession came trumpeters and musicians and strange animals from the conquered territories, together with carts laden with treasure and captured armaments. The conqueror rode in a triumphal chariot, the dazed prisoners walking in chains before him. Sometimes his children, robed in white, stood with him in the chariot, or rode the trace horses. A slave stood behind the conqueror, holding a golden crown, and whispering in his ear a warning: That all glory is fleeting." Sic transit gloria mundi.
That's a long introduction to Saturday evening. Being a generally boring guy, I was out at the Great Western Motor Sports off road track near Reno, NV for the Lucas Oil races at night (race schedule) watching other people race. I have an offer standing to take my Raptor on the track and run it when there is not an active race event here, which I will do. I'll hand somebody my cell phone and hope that they manage to get something worth posting.

Daytime track shot when the races are not being run
Race day shot from the VIP tent looking down on the track,
 bleachers and general admission area. The sun is going down
almost time for the race to begin.
I went last night primarily because of the Pro 4 and buggy races (photos of buggies below). If I can sell enough flying saucers, I will build and race one of these bad boys myself. Will I win? Are you kidding? I don't have Spiderman-like reflexes (unless a radioactive spider bites me between now and then). But I'd just enjoy the ride. After all - Sic Tranist Gloria Mundi (all glory is fleeting).


I also went because I know the owners, got in free, hung out in the VIP tent and acted like I was somebody.  And I'm in Reno for business. And it's a weekend. And I'm bored and don't want to spend the night in the hotel looking at the walls. I had planned to go motorcycle riding on a friend's custom scooter, but the person I planned to ride with was arrested for drunk driving and now has a suspended license (sic transit gloria mundi, right?). The Races were my second pick but it's great to have those sorts of options.

All that aside:  I would still like to build and race a buggy.

Cellphone photos from the night race:

Pro 4 race taken from the upper curve as it descends to the straight-away
and the checkered flag.
Pro 4 cars stacked after a yellow flag.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Islamic Vouyerism

Remarks by a Salafist preacher have made headlines this week in Egypt after the preacher issued a fatwa (religious edict) that a man is allowed to see the women he is thinking about marrying “while she is showering.”

Usama al-Qawsi put it this way, “If you were really honest and wanted to marry that woman, and you were able to hide and watch her in secret, see the things that she wouldn’t usually let you see before marrying her, then it is acceptable as long as your intentions are pure.”

As those of you who know me personally can attest, my intentions are pure as the driven snow, so maybe Islam will work for me? 

Then again, since the women in Egypt have almost all been mutilated in their youth (as a matter of Islamic practice) so as to be unable to enjoy sexual pleasure, what's the point?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Balkanizing Britannia?

Scottish Independence

Following on an agreement between the Scottish Parliament and the United Kingdom Government, there will referendum on whether Scotland should be an independent country. That will take place on Thursday, 18 September 2014

Scottish National Flag
The UK Government has stated that if a simple majority of the votes cast are in favour of independence, then "Scotland would become an independent country after a process of negotiations". If the majority is against independence, Scotland would continue within the United Kingdom. Further powers would be devolved to the Scottish Parliament as a result of the Scotland Act 2012

Even if Scotland becomes an independent nation, they would remain linked to the UK in matters of defense foreign affairs; financial regulation, monetary policy and the currency based on present agreements. That might not remain the case as there is an effort toward Scottish Parliament gaining the power to convert Scotland into a country that would "have the rights and responsibilities of a normal, sovereign state." If the latter happens, will the British flag (the Union Jack) change to remove the Scottish portion? I don't know. 

Flower of Scotland (Scottish National Anthem)

Cornwall Too?

Cornish National Flag
The well-trodden journey from Land's End to John o'Groats, the most south-westerly point of Cornwall to the north-eastern tip of mainland Scotland, has inspired many to travel the length of Britain by car, by bike and on foot.

But the famous challenge - often signposted with a distance of 874 miles (1,407km) by road - is not the only thing that Scotland and Cornwall have in common.

Cornwall's nationalist party, Mebyon Kernow, does not want Cornwall to be an independent country - which is what the Scottish National Party is campaigning for in Scotland - but it does want Cornwall to be seen as its own nation, with a legislative assembly similar to the current Scottish Parliament...for now

But not Wales

Welsh National Flag
Only 10% of Welsh voters support the nationalist party, Plaid Cymru, which favors independence from the UK. From an ethnological point of view, that's surprising, because the Welsh are culturally distinct from the other Brythonic groups and have been since the Early Middle Ages.

The Scotts have a tradition of independence that has been very active for hundreds of years. The Welsh seem to feel very differently about a break from the UK. I'm not sure why.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Rites of Manhood

There are rituals that men put other men to - and it goes beyond the rites of passage associated with age. Most of it has to do with eating gross food. If you eat it, or if you drink this or that potion, then you're a man.  The situation that I recently went through in Norway (eating Viking food and drinking a blend of vodka and Norwegian whiskey) simply underscored the memories of catching a cobra with my bare hands in Thailand (Cobra Gold), killing it and eating the poison, a similar ritual with a huge octopus in Korea at Squadron 56 (ROK SEALs), and so forth around the world.

Being a man has nothing to do with any of that, but men do it and other men (yes, including me) fall for it time and time again.
US Navy:  Crossing the Equator involves a two-day ritual where King Neptune presides over the transformation from slimy pollywogs into trusty shellbacks. The eve of the equatorial crossing is called Wog Day and, as with many other night-before rituals, is a mild type of reversal of the day to come. Wogs—all of the uninitiated—are allowed to capture and interrogate any shellbacks they can find (e.g., tying them up, cracking eggs or pouring aftershave lotion on their heads). The wogs are made very aware of the fact that it will be much harder on them if they do anything like this. 
The Shellbacks retaliate: Wogs are captured and may be "interrogated" by King Neptune and his entourage, and the use of "truth serum" (hot sauce + after shave) and whole uncooked eggs put in the mouth. During the ceremony, the Pollywogs undergo a number of increasingly embarrassing ordeals (wearing clothing inside out and backwards; crawling on hands and knees on nonskid-coated decks; being swatted with short lengths of firehose; being locked in stocks and pillories and pelted with mushy fruit; being locked in a water coffin of salt-water and bright green sea dye (fluorescent sodium salt); crawling through chutes or large tubs of rotting garbage; kissing the Royal Baby's belly coated with axle grease, hair chopping, etc.), largely for the entertainment of the Shellbacks.  
In the end, King Neptune recognizes that the slimy Wogs are worthy of becoming Trusty Shellbacks. The ritual has been played out by navies of most nations for hundreds of years. It's now part of the lore and both officers and crew aspire to the tile of Trusty Shellback. 
There are rankings. A Trusty Shellback just crossed the Equator. A Golden Shellback crossed the Equator at the 180th meridian (international date line). The Emerald Shellback crossed the Equator at the prime meridian.
As I sit at the computer keyboard, I am trying to count the various and sundry rites of manhood that I've undergone through my life - from the subtle to the more overt. It must go back to the days of cavemen. Young Plains Indians went on vision quest ordeals in which they gave up their birth name and took on a name associated with power. In other cultures the issue was decided in a sweat lodge with peyote and mescal liquor. They counted coup on enemies so that all would witness their personal bravery.  In some motorcycle gangs, "Harley Wings" are traditionally awarded for various sex acts with different women: Red Wings for a woman at that moon, broken wing for a female amputee, etc. In the SEAL teams, you were thrown into the 'dip tank' (foul water where outboard motors are tested) when you received a promotion. And so forth. 

I think that women do it on a far more mild basis in sororities where they are trying to copy the ancient male pattern.  Oddly enough, it might have been Rudyard Kipling who best identified women's place in all of this in his epic poem, "Female of the Species":
...She is wedded to convictions—in default of grosser ties;
Her contentions are her children, Heaven help him who denies!—
He will meet no suave discussion, but the instant, white-hot, wild,
Wakened female of the species warring as for spouse and child. 
Unprovoked and awful charges—even so the she-bear fights,
Speech that drips, corrodes, and poisons—even so the cobra bites,
Scientific vivisection of one nerve till it is raw
And the victim writhes in anguish—like the Jesuit with the squaw! 
So it comes that Man, the coward, when he gathers to confer
With his fellow-braves in council, dare not leave a place for her
Where, at war with Life and Conscience, he uplifts his erring hands
To some God of Abstract Justice—which no woman understands.

                                                                   "I have no answers, only truths."

Monday, August 18, 2014

Ferguson, MO Protest

With this non-starter as the chart topper in the news department, I thought that I'd weigh in by saying that I really don't care about the Ferguson, Missouri race riots.

As soon as the "black reverends" showed up, you just knew that they'd fan the flames until the last unhappy negro died if they could. It's what they do for a living.

Michael Brown, a thief, likely having just committed a strong arm robbery, was shot by the police in a confrontation in which the only salient non-police witness was a co-conspirator in the crime. That happens in every ghetto in America, every day. This one received heavy race baiting by the mainstream media, who now have a race-related event to report. Good for them. It's what they do best. 

What few businesses in the ghetto will move out after they've been looted and insurance carriers decide that they aren't worth the risk in the future.  

The very programs that were initiated in the 60's to curb raceism have become the drivers for more intense racism. Affirmative action, unending generational welfare, advocacy for single motherhood only fuels the fire. 73% of Black American Families are single parent households receiving government benefits68% of the Black Male Population in America are either incarcerated or have been . . So, basically, while this might be interpreted by some as "profiling", when you see a Black man walking down the street with a flat screen TV on his shoulder, there's better than a 60% chance that it's not hisYesterday, Congressman Elijah Cummings said that perhaps only black policemen should handle black crime. If that, then have only black teachers educate black children, black restaurant owners serve black customers, black bus lines carry only blacks and even black water companies provide water fountains for only blacks. 

If we gave Cummings what he wants, would that end the matter?


Maybe we simply need to import Korean shop owners into Ferguson, MO and pull the police back. Let the Korean civilians manage the riot. It would make the whole thing a lot more interesting and wouldn't involve any white people (root cause of all evil in the world).

Visit Self-Evident Truths for another perspective.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Afternoon on Oslo Fjord

A friend of mine has a very nice, classic wooden boat and invited a couple of us out on it for a cruise around Oslo Fjord. What follows are a few cell-phone pictures of the event with commentary.

The boat - completely restored to 1950 vintage. As I found out by cruising
the harbor, there are a large number of equally interesting classic wooden
runabouts on the water in Oslo Fjord.
If you are going anywhere, you need fuel. This is the girl who pumps gas on
the fuel jetty. No, the line handlers in Southern California are not as attractive.
Fine day at sea.
This is the old fort that dominates the harbor in the Oslo City area.
When we were about, a lot of people had rafted their boats up and were BBQing.
Another random photo taken in the Oslo area not far from the city center.

Since I was running around recreationally (as opposed to business) with friends from Etterretningstjenesten  (Norwegian Intelligence Service) there was the usual test of manhood that involved eating food that some might consider, exotic. I will assure you that it's not exotic to a Viking. There is a hang-out "somewhere in Oslo" where the old, silver hair'd members of the Norwegian  National Intelligence Service people meet. A hole in the wall, behind a hole in the wall. 

Food came out for my benefit - call it a sampler. Traditional viking fare (dried for sea voyages): Horse sausage, wolf sausage, moose sausage, dried sheep and pork. They are saving the lutefisk for the next time that I'm in town.

Because of of their retired friends recently passed away, it turned into a wake. Wakes held by the last vestige of what remains of viking men for their fallen friend need not be explained further here.