Thursday, August 30, 2018

Still here. The New Scientist. Catching up on Branco cartoons.

I'm still here, but we have been having a productive "family meeting" and that's been keeping me busy.  The kids head back to Nashville tonight, and I should be back to my normal routine by this coming Saturday.

In 2008, there was a good article in a magazine called "New Scientist."  I wanted to reprint it in the blog I had at the time, but they said I had to be subscriber. It was expensive, about $100 for a year long subscription, and I knew they rarely if ever published anything I was interested in.  Finally, I paid for a subscription. The article was that good.  Every few years, I reprint it here.  I don't know if New Scientist is still around, but this article and the one on a pandemic were well worth reading.

Why the demise of civilization may be inevitable

 Source:   New Scientist
Date:  April 2, 2008
Byline:  Debora MacKenzie

DOOMSDAY.  The end of civilization.  Literature and film abound with tales of plague, famine and wars which ravage the planet, leaving a few survivors scratching out a primitive existence amid the ruins. Every civilization in history has collapsed, after all. Why should ours be any different?

Doomsday scenarios typically feature a knockout blow: a massive asteroid, all-out nuclear war or a catastrophic pandemic (see "Will a pandemic bring down civilization?"). Yet there is another chilling possibility: what if the very nature of civilization means that ours, like all the others, is destined to collapse sooner or later?

A few researchers have been making such claims for years. Disturbingly, recent insights from fields such as complexity theory suggest that they are right. It appears that once a society develops beyond a certain level of complexity it becomes increasingly fragile. Eventually, it reaches a point at which even a relatively minor disturbance can bring everything crashing down.
Some say we have already reached this point, and that it is time to start thinking about how we might manage collapse. Others insist it is not yet too late, and that we can - we must - act now to keep disaster at bay.

Environmental mismanagement

History is not on our side. Think of Sumeria, of ancient Egypt and of the Maya. In his 2005 best-seller Collapse, Jared Diamond of the University of California, Los Angeles, blamed environmental mismanagement for the fall of the Mayan civilization and others, and warned that we might be heading the same way unless we choose to stop destroying our environmental support systems.
Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute in Washington DC agrees. He has long argued that governments must pay more attention to vital environmental resources. "It's not about saving the planet. It's about saving civilization," he says.

Others think our problems run deeper. From the moment our ancestors started to settle down and build cities, we have had to find solutions to the problems that success brings. "For the past 10,000 years, problem solving has produced increasing complexity in human societies," says Joseph Tainter, an archaeologist at Utah State University, Logan, and author of the 1988 book The Collapse of Complex Societies.

If crops fail because rain is patchy, build irrigation canals. When they silt up, organize dredging crews. When the bigger crop yields lead to a bigger population, build more canals. When there are too many for ad hoc repairs, install a management bureaucracy, and tax people to pay for it. When they complain, invent tax inspectors and a system to record the sums paid. That much the Sumerians knew.

Diminishing returns

There is, however, a price to be paid. Every extra layer of organization imposes a cost in terms of energy, the common currency of all human efforts, from building canals to educating scribes. And increasing complexity, Tainter realized, produces diminishing returns. The extra food produced by each extra hour of labor - or joule of energy invested per farmed hectare - diminishes as that investment mounts. We see the same thing today in a declining number of patents per dollar invested in research as that research investment mounts. This law of diminishing returns appears everywhere, Tainter says.

To keep growing, societies must keep solving problems as they arise. Yet each problem solved means more complexity. Success generates a larger population, more kinds of specialists, more resources to manage, more information to juggle - and, ultimately, less  bang for your buck.

Eventually, says Tainter, the point is reached when all the energy and resources available to a society are required just to maintain its existing level of complexity. Then when the climate changes or barbarians invade, overstretched institutions break down and civil order collapses. What emerges is a less complex society, which is organised on a smaller scale or has been taken over by another group.
Tainter sees diminishing returns as the underlying reason for the collapse of all ancient civilizations, from the early Chinese dynasties to the Greek city state of Mycenae. These civilizations relied on the solar energy that could be harvested from food, fodder and wood, and from wind. When this had been stretched to its limit, things fell apart.

An ineluctable process

Western industrial civilization has become bigger and more complex than any before it by exploiting new sources of energy, notably coal and oil, but these are limited. There are increasing signs of diminishing returns: the energy required to get each new joule of oil is mounting and although global food production is still increasing, constant innovation is needed to cope with environmental degradation and evolving pests and diseases - the yield boosts per unit of investment in innovation are shrinking. "Since problems are inevitable," Tainter warns, "this process is in part ineluctable."
Is Tainter right? An analysis of complex systems has led Yaneer Bar-Yam, head of the New England Complex Systems Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to the same conclusion that Tainter reached from studying history. Social organizations become steadily more complex as they are required to deal both with environmental problems and with challenges from neighboring societies that are also becoming more complex, Bar-Yam says. This eventually leads to a fundamental shift in the way the society is organized.

"To run a hierarchy, managers cannot be less complex than the system they are managing," Bar-Yam says. As complexity increases, societies add ever more layers of management but, ultimately in a hierarchy, one individual has to try and get their head around the whole thing, and this starts to become impossible. At that point, hierarchies give way to networks in which decision-making is distributed. We are at this point.

This shift to decentralized networks has led to a widespread belief that modern society is more resilient than the old hierarchical systems. "I don't foresee a collapse in society because of increased complexity," says futurologist and industry consultant Ray Hammond. "Our strength is in our highly distributed decision making." This, he says, makes modern western societies more resilient than those like the old Soviet Union, in which decision making was centralized.

Increasing connectedness

Things are not that simple, says Thomas Homer-Dixon, a political scientist at the University of Toronto, Canada, and author of the 2006 book The Upside of Down. "Initially, increasing connectedness and diversity helps: if one village has a crop failure, it can get food from another village that didn't."

As connections increase, though, networked systems become increasingly tightly coupled. This means the impacts of failures can propagate: the more closely those two villages come to depend on each other, the more both will suffer if either has a problem. "Complexity leads to higher vulnerability in some ways," says Bar-Yam. "This is not widely understood."
The reason is that as networks become ever tighter, they start to transmit shocks rather than absorb them. "The intricate networks that tightly connect us together - and move people, materials, information, money and energy - amplify and transmit any shock," says Homer-Dixon. "A financial crisis, a terrorist attack or a disease outbreak has almost instant destabilizing effects, from one side of the world to the other."

For instance, in 2003 large areas of North America and Europe suffered blackouts when apparently insignificant nodes of their respective electricity grids failed. And this year China suffered a similar blackout after heavy snow hit power lines. Tightly coupled networks like these create the potential for propagating failure across many critical industries, says Charles Perrow of Yale University, a leading authority on industrial accidents and disasters.

Credit crunch

Perrow says interconnectedness in the global production system has now reached the point where "a breakdown anywhere increasingly means a breakdown everywhere". This is especially true of the world's financial systems, where the coupling is very tight. "Now we have a debt crisis with the biggest player, the US. The consequences could be enormous."

"A networked society behaves like a multicellular organism," says Bar-Yam, "random damage is like lopping a chunk off a sheep." Whether or not the sheep survives depends on which chunk is lost. And while we are pretty sure which chunks a sheep needs, it isn't clear - it may not even be predictable - which chunks of our densely networked civilization are critical, until it's too late.

"When we do the analysis, almost any part is critical if you lose enough of it," says Bar-Yam. "Now that we can ask questions of such systems in more sophisticated ways, we are discovering that they can be very vulnerable. That means civilization is very vulnerable."

So what can we do? "The key issue is really whether we respond successfully in the face of the new vulnerabilities we have," Bar-Yam says. That means making sure our "global sheep" does not get injured in the first place - something that may be hard to guarantee as the climate shifts and the world's fuel and mineral resources dwindle.

Tightly coupled system

Scientists in other fields are also warning that complex systems are prone to collapse. Similar ideas have emerged from the study of natural cycles in ecosystems, based on the work of ecologist Buzz Holling, now at the University of Florida, Gainesville. Some ecosystems become steadily more complex over time: as a patch of new forest grows and matures, specialist species may replace more generalist species, biomass builds up and the trees, beetles and bacteria form an increasingly rigid and ever more tightly coupled system.

"It becomes an extremely efficient system for remaining constant in the face of the normal range of conditions," says Homer-Dixon. But unusual conditions - an insect outbreak, fire or drought - can trigger dramatic changes as the impact cascades through the system. The end result may be the collapse of the old ecosystem and its replacement by a newer, simpler one.

Globalization is resulting in the same tight coupling and fine-tuning of our systems to a narrow range of conditions, he says. Redundancy is being systematically eliminated as companies maximize profits. Some products are produced by only one factory worldwide. Financially, it makes sense, as mass production maximizes efficiency. Unfortunately, it also minimizes resilience. "We need to be more selective about increasing the connectivity and speed of our critical systems," says Homer-Dixon. "Sometimes the costs outweigh the benefits."

Is there an alternative? Could we heed these warnings and start carefully climbing back down the complexity ladder? Tainter knows of only one civilization that managed to decline but not fall. "After the Byzantine empire lost most of its territory to the Arabs, they simplified their entire society. Cities mostly disappeared, literacy and numeracy declined, their economy became less monetized, and they switched from professional army to peasant militia."

Staving off collapse

Pulling off the same trick will be harder for our more advanced society. Nevertheless, Homer-Dixon thinks we should be taking action now. "First, we need to encourage distributed and decentralized production of vital goods like energy and food," he says. "Second, we need to remember that slack isn't always waste. A manufacturing company with a large inventory may lose some money on warehousing, but it can keep running even if its suppliers are temporarily out of action."

The electricity industry in the US has already started identifying hubs in the grid with no redundancy available and is putting some back in, Homer-Dixon points out. Governments could encourage other sectors to follow suit. The trouble is that in a world of fierce competition, private companies will always increase efficiency unless governments subsidize inefficiency in the public interest.

Homer-Dixon doubts we can stave off collapse completely. He points to what he calls "tectonic" stresses that will shove our rigid, tightly coupled system outside the range of conditions it is becoming ever more finely tuned to. These include population growth, the growing divide between the  world's rich and poor, financial instability, weapons proliferation, disappearing forests and fisheries, and climate change. In imposing new complex solutions we will run into the problem of diminishing returns - just as we are running out of cheap and plentiful energy.

"This is the fundamental challenge humankind faces. We need to allow for the healthy breakdown in natural function in our societies in a way that doesn't produce catastrophic collapse, but instead leads to healthy renewal," Homer-Dixon says. This is what happens in forests, which are a patchy mix of old growth and newer areas created by disease or fire. If the ecosystem in one patch collapses, it is recolonized and renewed by younger forest elsewhere. We must allow partial breakdown here and there, followed by renewal, he says, rather than trying so hard to avert breakdown by increasing complexity that any resulting crisis is actually worse.

Tipping points

Lester Brown thinks we are fast running out of time. "The world can no longer afford to waste a day. We need a Great Mobilization, as we had in wartime," he says. "There has been tremendous progress in just the past few years. For the first time, I am starting to see how an alternative economy might emerge. But it's now a race between tipping points - which will come first, a switch to sustainable technology, or collapse?"

Tainter is not convinced that even new technology will save civilization in the long run. "I sometimes think of this as a 'faith-based' approach to the future," he says. Even a society reinvigorated by cheap new energy sources will eventually face the problem of diminishing returns once more. Innovation itself might be subject to diminishing returns, or perhaps absolute limits.

Studies of the way cities grow by Luis Bettencourt of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico, support this idea. His team's work suggests that an ever-faster rate of innovation is required to keep cities growing and prevent stagnation or collapse, and in the long run this cannot be sustainable.

The stakes are high. Historically, collapse always led to a fall in population. "Today's population levels depend on fossil fuels and industrial agriculture," says Tainter. "Take those away and there would be a reduction in the Earth's population that is too gruesome to think about."

If industrialized civilization does fall, the urban masses - half the world's population - will be most vulnerable. Much of our hard-won knowledge could be lost, too. "The people with the least to lose are subsistence farmers," Bar-Yam observes, and for some who survive, conditions might actually improve. Perhaps the meek really will inherit the Earth.

From New Scientist magazine, 02 April 2008, page 32-35

Branco Cartoons:

Thought for the Day:

Sunday, August 26, 2018

John McCain is dead. Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents, and Survivors book, Concealed Carry .. Someone stole my package at the gate.

Extinctus amabitur idem

John McCain is dead.  It's better for conservatives that he's gone.  He was a good guy when he was younger, but after he lost the election for President to Barack Hussein in 2008,  he soured. When President Trump was elected, McCain went completely mad, and he never forgave President Trump for doing what he had failed to do.  He did a lot of damage in his final years as a Senator, but the brain tumors that killed him were probably effecting his mind at that point.  Unlike the death of Ted Kennedy, which gave me nothing but joy, I feel a little sorry about McCain. He wasn't always an idiot.

That's him on the lower right. As I think most people know, he was shot down over North Vietnam and held captive there for years. No one has ever said his behavior during that period was not exemplary.

So, whereever he is, if he's anywhere, I'm sure he's better off than he was in the last years of his life. And if he's nowhere, then it's no worse than going to sleep at night.

Vicki's Post:

I've been reading this blog for a long time. The author is a down to earth person, an individual who always makes the best of things and continues to march.  This particular post was close to home for me, because now we're dealing with the same issues. I wanted to give people who don't know her blog a chance to read it.

Vicki's Reply to a Comment

link above goes to the post.

Worth Five Dollars:

  You can get a copy of this book, either the Kindle digital version, or the paperback, from Amazon. It only costs $5.00.

A lot of people think that you had to have served in the military during a major conflict to be eligible for VA benefits, but that's not true.

We've been in so many undeclared wars since 1953, that it's entirely possible you are eligible for some benefits and don't even know it.

The VA and the U.S. government in general don't advertise what benefits are out there, or make any attempt at all to let Veterans know if they are eligible. So the burden is on the individual to do the research.

You can also download the PDF file for absolutely free from the web page below.

 Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents, and Survivors

                link to a pdf version of the book is above:

Concealed Carry a growing practice in America. I wonder why that might be?

Meanwhile, deep in the forest:

The kids are coming in tonight.  They won't be leaving Nashville until about four this afternoon, and it's a four hour drive.

My wife has been changing the linens in the bedrooms.  I asked her why, because they were just here a month ago. She says you always put fresh linen when people are coming to visit. I pointed out we did that after we left, so why do it again.  Because that's what you do.........

For the first time in 32 years ( we moved here on August 22,1986)  I've had a package stolen from my  gate.

I had a BudK order ,  a number of knives for my storeroom, that was delivered on Friday. But, it wasn't there at the gate when I went to look for it.

Saturday I went to the post office.  When a package is delivered and scanned, their computer captures the data and they can print an air photo showing the exact location the package was delivered. I had expected to find out it was inadvertently delivered to the wrong address, but it wasn't. The air photo showed it was delivered at my gate. Note...I apparently confused some folks here. I don't mean the post office TOOK an air photo of the delivery. I mean their computer has air photos of the entire county. They can print a section of the air photo with a little way mark symbol that shows where the delivery scan was made, and give it to you.

So, someone came down that old county road, which is just dirt, and when they saw the package at the gate, they stole it. Seems like things just get worse up here.  I can't think who would have done that. Most of the "ethnics" don't travel out of town, because they don't have cars. None of the locals would do that, and very few Atlanta people would go out into the woods on that rough road. I don't know if BudK insures the packages, but I will call them on Monday and find out.

The post office people told me this is happening a lot now, and not just to them but to Fedex and UPS. First I had heard of that. They suggested I get a post office box at the P.O. and have my mail delivered there. Seems that people are stealing things out of mailboxes now too.  I don't know if I will do that, as a post office box is expensive and I'd have to drive into town to get my mail.

Thought for the day:

A little music:

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Again. Just forted up.

Remember Kate Steinle, in San Francisco?  She was shot to death by an illegal alien, while sight seeing with her father.

There wasn't any question about him shooting her. But he said he "accidentally" discharged his illegal pistol, and "accidentally" shot her. So a San Francisco jury acquitted him.  Francisco Sanchez had already been deported from, and returned to, the United States five  times. He wasn't even found guilty of a lesser charge, such as involuntary manslaughter, nothing but a "gun  crime" that carried a max of 3 years.

Now this:

They found the missing college girl, Mollie Tibbets.  In a cornfield.

Her  killer was an illegal alien. He had apparently been living on a farm owned by a Republican state senator for the past 4 years.   He'll get off, too.

The President pretty much says it all.  But the Democrats and the MSM are all saying "how terrible it is to associate this tragic event with a person's immigration status." They're responsible for this guy being in this country. That makes them responsible for her death.

The government isn't going to take care of this problem ,because the President is blocked at every turn by the bureaucracy, the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, the moonbats and snowflakes, and the courts.  But it can be taken care of.

Women shouldn't jog alone.  Not anywhere.  We had a middle aged woman disappear while out jogging here in North Georgia three years ago.  She's never been heard of since. One day, hunters will find her bones out in the national forest.

 In Atlanta a few weeks ago, two black men pulled up next to a young white woman jogging in her own neighborhood, and tried to drag her into their car. She only escaped when a neighbor ran out on his lawn with a gun. Those stories don't make the news, because they don't reflect the great socialist paradise we are supposed to be living in, but the facts remain.

It's that kind of a world.   In Cincinnati, my daughter couldn't go out to the dumpster to throw the trash away without taking her German Shepard.  When she moved into the apartment complex on the lake, it was expensive, but nice.  When she moved out three years later, the influx of illegal aliens and "refugees" had turned it into a ghetto where you could hear gun shots every night, and the parking lot was often filled with blue lights. Cincinnati proudly bills itself as a "sanctuary city."

 It's not going to get any better for anyone, and for a lot of us, it's getting worse. So we just have to deal with it, one way or the other.

Branco is back from vacation:

As for things up here:

I used to carry a Hungarian M1895 in the back of the jeep.  I had a little gun rack that held it behind the front seats.  Worked fine if the back seats had been folded up flat.  The M1895 chambers 8X56R Hungarian. It uses a unique bullet, .330, but I have a large stash of them, and you can get the bullets from Graf and Sons, when they have them.  It's a straight pull rifle, and uses a Mannlicher clip. You can't load the weapon without the clip.

It's short, has a fast working action, and is fast to reload.   I have a lot of ammo for the type, since I bought several wooden cases of it back in the 1980's.  I hate to shoot it though , because it is all head stamped 1937 or 1939, and the latter has the German eagle head stamp. The ammo itself is collectible.

Fortunately, I have lots of brass and you can find the ammo in commercial production, as well.

The weapon has a fairly strong recoil, but it's reliable and handy.

As for things here on the mountain top:

We're still here, and I guess that's saying something.  Haven't been into  town since Saturday, if I remember correctly. We need to go into the pharmacy though, as my wife has run short of some of her medicine. She's supposed to tell me when we get below 30 days worth on her medicines, but sometimes, like this time, she tells me when she's got two or three days left.

We really like the new television set.  I am going to get my son to figure out how we can access our Amazon Prime movies and television shows over the internet using it. This television set has a USB plug for that. Apparently, I need a "Kindle Fire Stick" and then I should be good to go. But that's his department, not mine. I know very little about modern electronics and that's more than I want to.

Clear skies,  and the humidity is supposed to start falling today.  This morning it was 93%.  Temperatures in the low 80's, no rain in the forecast.  That all sounds good to me.  There's nothing really interesting to tell.  Even so, I'm trying to keep doing at least small posts fairly frequently. There's a lot happening up here and I'd like to keep as record of as much of it as I can. 

Thought for the Day:

                       Some Music:                                                    

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Nothing going on here.

Just checking into the net, so to speak.  Nothing of any interest happening here.  Tomorrow is my son's birthday. He'll be 31.   Both my son and my daughter are coming home this weekend for some family time.

I went and got my wife a big wide screen TV so she can watch her shows in style. Our old tv got destroyed by the lightning strike, and we've been watching a back up set from the "obsolete but functional" store room. I figured she could use a pick me up.  I was afraid I wouldn't be able to hook it up to the satellite receiver, but the thing had the right jack and once plugged in, it did all the set up work .  Thank you, Jesus!

We are cutting back on going and doing for awhile, until the dust settles. I think we got too much going , too fast, and we both wore out.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Harry shows out at the theater. Those were the days.

Whatever the time of year, the two best times of the day are sunrise, and sunset.  This morning it's humid, and the trees are dripping big drops of condensation, as if it were raining. There's no sound at all, out in the woods. I suppose later in the day we'll have thunderstorms and rain, that's the prediction, anyway.

Yesterday was a strange kind of day.   We didn't want to just stay home, so we went on an excursion. First, to the library so my wife could turn in some books and check out some more. Then over to the big multiplex cinema on the mountain side, to see a movie.  The only one they were showing that looked even a little interesting was this one:

My wife likes Mark Wahlberg, and I have enjoyed some of his shows, so we thought it would be ok.

When we got to the theater, there was a huge line. They had one ticket counter open (for six cinemas) , and some ladies from Florida were having a problem. They had bought their tickets from some third party outfit, on line, but the codes they got wouldn't work. So we all stood there, with the time for the movie getting closer and closer, while they argued and fussed with the ticket counter clerk.

Finally, five minutes before the movie started, a manager came and got it straightened out. I know that kind of thing happens , but I hate being late and it aggravated me.

Then, as I sat through the interminable previews of inane shows you couldn't pay me to go see, on the screen pops the hideous visage of Jabba the Jackass, also known as Michael Moore. The preview was of some new movie this Cintus Supremos is apparently coming out with.

The theater wasn't crowded, and it only holds about 50 people max,  but almost all the people in there were the "Hawaiian shirt , Bermuda shorts, and sandals" crowd that infests that particular area.  The movie is clearly another of Moore's rigged, staged B.S. propaganda fests, and it's aimed at President Trump and the people who support him.  The audience started to titter and chuckle as Sluggo dumped his vitriol on people just like me, in his interviews.

Can you imagine paying your money to see a movie, and having to sit through this first, while a bunch of Sheeple tee-hee and act like idiots?

It tripped my wire, and I said very loudly " if they show this piece of crap by this assh*le, I'm never coming in this Goddamned place again."  I suppose that was juvenile behavior, but I paid good money to relax, and then that happens.

The theater got deadly quiet. I expect all the the poofters in there were waiting for me to jump up and mow them all down.  If that's what they thought, then good.  I wasn't armed with anything more dangerous than popcorn, but at least it shut them up.

The movie itself was awful.  Don't waste your money.  There's no plot to speak of,  there are holes in the plot a mile wide, and in the end, they just set up for a sequel, leaving everything hanging in the air. I know I've paid to see worse movies, but I just can't remember when.

When we came out of the movie, my wife said " I'm sure they won't show that film up here."
I hope she's right. They don't show any of the movies I want to see, like "Beirut" or "Entebbe", because the manager says "there's no interest." There better not be any interest in one of Moore's screeds, either. There are lots of people up here who feel the same way I do about that tub of lard, and they won't set foot in the business again if that movie gets screen time.

Then we went to our favorite restaurant, up on a mountain overlooking the lake.  It's expensive, but it is  a nice, quiet place and the food is good.  Afterwards, we made stops at a couple of grocery stores and a pharmacy, and came on home.

When we got home, we got a phone call from my sister in law.  My wife's brother, Mark, had passed away. A few months ago, they found out he had brain tumors, and there was nothing they could do for him. It will take my wife awhile to get over that, because she really loved him.  He was a good guy.  I've not known many people who never said anything bad about anyone, but he was one of those people.

Mark was a chemical engineer. He retired just a few years ago, so he didn't get to enjoy retirement long. Like my wife, he was raised in Nigeria and Niger, at mission schools. He got drafted towards the end of the Vietnam war, but got a bad conduct discharge. Anybody who was around him for ten minutes would have been able to figure out he wouldn't make it as a soldier. He just didn't live in the real world, was always thinking about abstract things, and often oblivious to what was going on around him. They gave him a BCD for wandering off from the base, for not "conforming" and for just generally being out of sync with everybody else. He should have gotten an "admin discharge" but it was Vietnam times.

He worked on oil rigs in Nigeria for a few years, went to school to get his degree, and then spent the rest of his life in laboratories, where he was happiest.  He went through two wives before he found one that was attuned to his personality.

I really liked the guy. He's the only one in my wife's family, besides my mother in law, that I ever really did like.  Mark believed in heaven, so I hope he's up there somewhere.

I don't have any plans for the rest of the day.  Maybe a walk at the lake,  and spend the rest of the day reading. I'm working may way through Dale Brown's 25+ book series , the one that starts out with "Flight of the Old Dog."  They aren't great books, but the local library system is running out of series on subjects that interest me.  Brown was an F111 crewman for 12 years, so where the plots may be a bit sketchy, at least the technical aspects ring true.

  The only fast mover I ever flew was a TA-4 Skyhawk, and that was with a buddy in the backseat who was basically giving me a joyride.  That was at NAS Kingsville, which probably doesn't even exist anymore.

Most of these books were written back in the 1990's and early 2000's, so they are kind of outdated and take place in situations that never actually developed.

Still, they're good stories. I find it hard to believe that Air Force officers are actually as undisciplined as the book portrays them, but then Brown was in that arena for a long time, and he should know.

I'm glad the library will get these for me, because even if  bought the Kindle editions, there are so many books that the cost would be high. Using the computer, I can order the books from my house, then just pick them up at the library when they email that my "holds" are in.

The TA-4 was a really great aircraft to fly, even if  I only got a couple of hours in one, and that as a "guest."  They're long gone now, of course.  

The aircraft I liked flying the most was the T-28 Trojan, and they're gone too. By 1975, the Trojan was the closest you could come to a WW2 Navy fighter.  I flew the T-28 in VT-6, out of NAS Whiting. Nothing else , fixed wing or rotary, ever came near it for sheer joy.

I've  already posted most of my T-28 pictures on the blog,  but for old times sake, I'll stick this one on here.  

And here's another odd thing, related to those times.  When the T-28 was phased out, and replaced by the T-34C,  most of the aircraft were destroyed in crash crew training exercises.  But a few were preserved for museums, and there's one hanging from the ceiling in the NAS Pensacola Naval Aviation Museum. That aircraft was in VT-6 and I flew it many times.  Makes me feel strange to see it hanging in a museum.

Well, enough reminiscing. I'm bad about doing that on Sunday morning, it's my reflective day of the week.  It's been 42 years since I flew a T-28.

News you can use:

art by stef

  There really wasn't much to say today.  I hope it will be quiet, and peaceful. Sunday is my favorite day of the week. I try not to do anything non-essential in terms of working around the place on Sunday.  Maybe I''ll hook Percy up to his harness and let him play in the meadow for awhile before it gets too hot.

Some thoughts from a friend:

Gratuitous Gun Video:  Tennessee Volunteer Arms Commando MK. III

I've got one of these Thompson copies.  I bought it used, at a gun shop, back in 1989. It had jamming problems, so I got it cheap. Turned out to be the feed ramp needed minimal polishing and the magazine they had in it was worn out.  Tennessee Volunteer Arms was a little mom and pop type business, not around long. The gun takes Grease Gun mags, not Thompson mags. Back when I bought it, Grease Gun magazines were plentiful and cheap. Not so much, now.

It fires the .45 ACP round, and is semi-automatic. About the only time I've used this is when bears used to come up to the house, and I'd fire it over their heads. They didn't care a damn, and just ignored me.