Category Archives: Editorial

Godspeed, John Glenn

It is with a heavy heart I write today’s post.  Today we lost a true hero – the last of the Mercury Seven – John Glenn.

I suppose I am just “old” but the Mercury Seven represent for me a time when we as a nation and society traveled through time’s finest hour.

Godspeed John Glenn…  May you travel well…  Godspeed…

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Just imagine the stories these glorious seven are sharing now…

Astronaut John Glenn photographed in space by an automatic sequence motion picture camera during his flight on “Friendship 7.” Glenn was in a state of weightlessness traveling at 17,500 mph as this picture was taken.

 

Mopeds, Trucks and Mustangs

img_4128My friend Jeff sent me this photo just a few minutes after leaving work yesterday, November 22nd.  I suppose this is as good an example of “necessity being the mother of invention” as any…

Interesting how mopeds are becoming more and more prevalent in our busy streets.  The sad part about this is that these transportation conveyances are so non-regulated.  Then again, this is why they are so easy to acquire and to ride.  Catch 22 for sure.

Don’t take me wrong, I am not scorning folks driving these machines on city streets and highways but some of these folks certainly go to extremes at the expense of their own (and others) safety.  And adding insult to injury with no regard to basic laws and driving conduct; ie., driving in the left lane, hogging the road or hauling a keg of beer, etc.

img_3947While on the subject of mopeds…  I took this photo several weeks ago.  It shows two extremes in transportation – a sign of our times.  On the left a fully loaded $60k Ford pickup and on the right another moped.  Two chariots providing the same basic concept – moving from point “A” to point “B” – but with different levels of safety, comfort, status, and the list goes on.

Finally, a short story on the silver high-dollar truck shown in the picture:  The truck was a “loaner” given to a co-worker by a local Ford dealership  Turns out several months ago my friend had bought one of the new Mustangs with the V6 engine.  Said Mustang developed a voracious “appetite” for engine oil and eventually started making strange noises.  The dealer took the engine apart, put it back together and that yielded more strange noises.  After weeks that turned into months the good folks at FOMOCO did like Tammy Wynette standing by her man and in this case, stood by their steed:  they sent a brand new crate engine replacement.

All is well now after the engine transplant and my friend is back on the road enjoying his Mustang.  I guess this must have been a bad omen though…  FOMOCO has ceased production of the V6 engine Mustang…

So happy Thanksgiving 2016 to you all.  I for one have much to be thankful for and with much optimism that America will be made Great Again.

 

Summer Sabbatical

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Red-hots and habanero peppers from my garden

After a summer sabbatical of sorts, I’m back.  I have not forgotten about my blog, instead for some reason the spark to write has not been there so I decided on some time off.  I know, it’s not like I have a huge following – so who cares, right?

During my time off the F1 boys took their summer break, and have returned to the second half of the season (should be exciting – Lewis or Nico?)…  The whole entity of F1 is in the works of changing ownership…  The English Premier League is back and Manchester City has started a fine season undefeated (so far)…  I just hope the change of leadership for F1 is as good as it has been (so far) for MCFC (time will tell)…

And last but not least… We find ourselves on the eve of the first of the “debates” that will showcase the best that our two major political parties label as “presidential candidates” (yeah right) which incidentally, isn’t much – scary shit indeed.

Goodies from my Garden

Today’s post tells the story of my latest “experiment”:  as you can see in the featured photo it shows just a small sampling of this year’s bumper crop of hot peppers from my little garden.  My garden is not elaborate, just a couple of planter boxes with some good soil and several tomato plants with some habaneros peppers, red-hot’s, Tabasco brand peppers and serranos for good measure.

img_3840 The tomato plants consist of three Roma tomato plants which have produced some awesome tomatoes for pasta sauces (Wifey has made some amazing dishes with the Romas!) and two other plants yielded some great tomatoes suitable for awesome Caprese salads with my own grown basil.

Good times.

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Weapons grade spirits…

So back to the hot peppers…  Many years ago, I lived in Aiken SC.  Not far from Aiken is “The Garden City”, the home of The National: Augusta GA.  One of the specialties of one of my favorite restaurants in Augusta is a “Cajun martini”.  Their trick was to let hot peppers infuse in vodka.  So, I went to Costco and purchased some Kirkland brand vodka – the bottle said it is made in France but the price was good so I figured why not.

Half the bottle of vodka went into a Mason jar and I added the habaneros.  The rest of the vodka remained in the tall bottle (pictured left) and I added the red-hots in there.  After a couple of days, I took a whiff – yikes!  Good stuff!  Today, I poured the liquid in some saved bottles and placed them in the freezer.  I’ll add a post later with taste results.

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Weapons grade pepper flakes…

Finally, my friend Thom was kind enough to take several Ziplock bags full of my hot peppers and prepare them in his food dehydrator.  And of course, I now need to shop for a dehydrator – so if you have any recommendations please let me know in the Comments section at the end of today’s post.  Amazing thing these pepper flakes!

I’ve been adding this extra condiment to pretty much everything!  The heat is not unbearably toxic, instead it is very tasty indeed but not for the faint-of-heart.  One thing though:  even after being dried and chopped the fumes are still there.  I’ve had several episodes of sneezing during dispensation.

Other Stuff

Nest Thermostat Review

Several of my friends at work have been telling me about their Nestthermostats and how much they like them.  I’ve stayed away from the Nest devices because they are a) rather pricey and b) I already had a programmable thermostat.  But, I decided to do some research…

As it turned out, Nest had price reduction this summer and I took the plunge.  Against my better judgement, I ordered a thermostat from the Nest website rather than from Amazon.  Yes, I would have received it free of shipping charges and with 2 day delivery, since I have Prime but I figured I’d order from the factory, and hopefully get a latest version of the thermostat.

This order was doomed from the start.  It appears that there must have been many folks just like me on the fence about the price and they too, ordered thermostats taking advantage of the price reduction.  After a couple of weeks I started calling Nest customer service and as expected the other side of the phone call was answered in some foreign land with reps that have a very poor command of the English language.  Eventually after many attempts, I finally spoke with someone in the continental USA and they explained demand went through the roof and inventory went the opposite direction.  They asked me to be patient and that they would knock off another $25 plus reimburse shipping in return of not cancelling my order.  After a few more days I received my Nest Thermostat.

The device reminded me of unpacking my iPhone and iPad.  The thermostat is exceptionally well made, impeccably packaged and well documented.  It even includes a very nifty screwdriver with a very comfortable handle.  Installation was a breeze and this thing just plain works.   After a “learning” period the thermostat has settled and the one thing that stands out is how constant temperature is maintained.  My old thermostat just did not have this level of accuracy.

The thermostat can be controlled from an iPhone as well as from the device itself.  And I must reiterate the app is very handy.  Now I can control the thermostat away from home and best off all Wifey has the app too – so she can adjust the device.  Happy Wifey, happy life.

Roku Review

And another cool toy purchased lately was a new Roku 3 device.  With all the awesome content available for streaming I figured I’d give one of these a try.  This time I did order from Amazon at a good price and in 2 days I had the device at my doorstep.  The device is really nice and as advertised it powered right up and immediately started working with very little fuss.

Unfortunately due to the way my house is designed the wireless signal did not prove to be strong enough for the Roku.  I don’t have any issues with my other devices (even the Nest thermostat) but for some reason the Roku just could not lock in a strong enough signal.  So, I crawled under the house and ran a physical wire between the router to a switch that allowed me to finally hard wire the TV, the Roku and the DirecTV receiver.  Amazing how well all this works with a wired signal.

Streaming is awesome.  So much available content and all with flawless performance.  A real gem this Roku device has turned out to be.  My favorites so far:

  • Netflix streaming is great.  I changed my DVD subscription and the streaming version is a must-have.
  • Amazon Prime offers video too.  Awesome content there too.
  • FilmOn – this is free and is simply amazing.  Basically you can watch live British TV.  It is soooo nice to be able to watch F1 races on the British feed and not have to put up with Leigh Diffey’s annoying voice and idiotic commentary on the NBCSN broadcast.  Incidentally, the British version of the coverage is superb.  Much more insight and certainly not “dumbed down” as is so much the norm on NBCSN.

And I guess I have tried to cram way too much in today’s post.  Sorry about that…

Hot, Damn Hot…

The last few days here in the Upstate of South Carolina the weather has been HOT, DAMN HOT.  I mean Summer in the South – gotta love it baby!   And it ain’t no “dry heat” so don’t start with that crap.

Add to this,  today the HVAC system at the office had “issues”.  And by this I mean, as I drove up this morning and exited RedRock, in the parking lot I could hear one of the units broadcasting that special sound bearings make when there is no more “bearing” left.  You know, that dreaded sound of metal-against-metal.  From my vantage point, it appears the bearings gave up the ghost several days ago and of course…  Things quickly went down from there.  Reminds me of the day the wheel bearing went bad in bowtie6 but not quite:  the bearings on the AC unit were playing a serious symphony of sorts.  As we say in the South, “bless their heart”…

So the temperature in the office proceeded to get rather “toasty”.  My buddy Jeff felt the “warmth” too and proceeded to pull up that glorious video from “Good Morning Vietnam” on his iPhone, where the sorely missed Robin Williams talks about things being HOT, DAMN HOT.  Yes indeed – today felt exactly like Roosevelt E. Roosevelt said…  HOT, DAMN HOT.  You have to watch the video…

Yes indeed!  HOT, DAMN HOT!!!  And as Martha Reeves and the Vandelas said, “There ain’t no where to run” in this heat.  If you don’t “get it”, watch the video.

Oh, and many thanks Jeff for the video…

слава – Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin

GagarinHero

слава – Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin

The space race began in earnest fifty-five years ago today:  Cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin became the first human being to orbit planet Earth aboard Vostok 1.

Remembrance of this historic event did not even make it to today’s network 6:30 Evening News – tragic we have elected to forget history like this.  However, space junkie that I am, this milestone will be remembered on this blog with this post.

Years later, I was lucky enough to experience at home and in school, the excitement of watching those grainy, shadowy, black-and-white images on the tee-vee of the result of what Yuri Gagarin started:  the Apollo missions.  Lucky me.  And at the same tragic.  Tragic because we seem to have forgotten those glory days.

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TIME Magazine, April 21, 1961

What an impressive feat the Soviet Union and Yuri Gagarin accomplished that day, fifty-five years ago today!  Gagarin even made the cover of TIME magazine!  Later, Tereshkova, Titov, Komarov, Leonov and others would follow in his footsteps.

I remember when I was in school, reading back issues of TIME Magazine, National Geographic Magazine and LIFE Magazine and those amazing articles showing the fantastic images of the space program.  Not only the Soviet space program but also the heroes of Mercury, Gemini and Apollo with the Stars and Stripes on the sleeves of their space suits.

I remember distinctly a small 45 rpm record included in an issue of National Geographic where the early space program was chronicled, including some awesome sound effects.  There was a special point in the recording where the announcement to the world of Gagarin’s achievement was made – in Russian no less.  For a young kid like me, that was just amazing.

Those were the heroes I looked up to and still do to this day.  Speaking of which, a couple of years ago I had the good fortune to listen to a talk given by none other than Buzz Aldrin.  Heroes indeed!!

One of the fascinating things from the Soviet Union’s space program was their propaganda posters.  Not sure if you are aware of them, but if you are not…  Then take some time and Google for them.  Like it or not, they are works of art – in my opinion.  This one in particular is one of my favorites…

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“Glory to the Soviet people, pioneers of space”

I strongly believe we would be remiss to not acknowledge the contribution of this historic event from 55 years ago.  After all, this was the spark that later resulted in that inspiring speech given by John F Kennedy in his address to Congress on Matters of Urgent Needs on May 25th 1961, where he stated:

I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space.

Imagine that kind of speech in today’s politically confused times!  But I digress…

And as part two of today’s history lesson…

Yesterday – April 11 – was the anniversary of another important milestone:  You see, on April 11, 1970 at exactly 13:13 CST at the Kennedy Space Center, Apollo 13 blasted off to what would later become NASA’s “finest moment”.  As we all know, a few days later the Service Module would suffer a catastrophic failure.

Apollo 13 Service Module damage

Apollo 13 Service Module damage