Thursday, September 29, 2016

Wild blue yonder

Bunch of C-130s just passed over our North Georgia. mountain. Came over one at a time.


Low enough and noisy enough to send the cat scurrying under the bed. Dashed outside and got my camera up in time for the last one. Wished I'd started counting when I heard the first couple. Maybe six to eight in all?

We get these flights from time to time, but this one stands out for the number of aircraft.

Appeared to be heading west to northwest, which is typical of the overflights we get.

Finally a veto

Congress finally shows courage?

I read with interest that Congress voted to override President Obama's veto of the 9/11 bill.

Why'd it take five to seven years to make a stand, and stick to it, in opposing Obama?

Yeah, yeah.

Now those in Congress, especially Republicans, who've funded and otherwise facilitated the Obama agenda all all these years will come home and campaign for reelection, bragging that they stood against Obama.

They really think we're stupid enough to buy their game.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Shortwave and Ham antenna up and working

Shortwave listening in the Atlanta suburbs has been a disappointment since I returned to the hobby several years ago. No BBC, no VOA, or so it seemed. Sure, Radio Havana can still be heard with the cheapest portable. Yes, with the right antenna, I could hear some European broadcasters, and some of the shortwave giants coming out of the Middle East. But what I mostly heard was a bunch of U.S. based broadcasters pumping out religious programming or acting as translators for Radio China International and other foreign outlets who used to depend on transmitters of their own.

Gotta say, I'm pleasantly surprised at the reception I've had the past 24 hours up here in a more rural mountain setting.

I strung a 72-foot end-fed wire antenna between a couple of trees, and suddenly found the shortwave bands packed with stations obscured by electrical interference encountered in my usual suburban surroundings.

Within minutes of connecting the antenna to an old no-frills Kenwood radio, I had a clear copy on Voice of America, presumably a transmission targeting Europe. Radio Australia, loud and clear. Vatican Radio. Tehran. And a host of others come booming in, day and night (depending on the band, and the time the stations are operating).

The antenna itself was preassembled, and purchased off eBay. With a 90 foot cable run, I used low-loss RG-213 coax to make the run to the cabin. An  Alpha-Delta surge suppressor was inserted where the antenna feed comes inside, with #6 copper wire connecting the suppressor to the cabin ground rod. In time, I'll likely add an additional rod or rods to the grounding configuration.

I wouldn't have spent so much time and effort if I was just planning to listen, but the configuration, when using an antenna tuner, should also be good for transmission on HF ham bands.  Using an old Yaesu tuner (bought for cheap on eBay), the antenna tunes perfectly for transmission on 10 meters (No contacts yet, but 10 meter propagation's been terrible). Haven't tried tuning other bands, as I'm presently limited by a Technician class license.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Post debate thoughts

Just a few thoughts on Monday night's first presidential debate of 2016:

Hillary Clinton looked better than she has in a long time. Was it just that she was well prepped and rested, or was she also well medicated? Only her closest handlers know for sure.

I found it amazing Clinton was allowed to rattled off calls for fact checks about alleged Trump "lies" during Monday nigh'ts debate, even as she was racking up a list of "lies" of her own.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump didn't seem to have his act together. Looking more like Mitt Romney or a John McCain, unwilling or unable to stay on the offensive.

Trump tried to stick with his warning that poorly crafted and lopsided trade deals are damaging the U.S., costing us jobs and business. Trump's apparently been on-message here at least since Oprah Winfrey interviewed him in 1988. He also tried to convince the sheeple we're in a bubble economy, but I doubt many sheeple even heard him say it, or didn't believe it if they heard.

Clinton wasn't nearly so interested in talking trade as she was about labeling America a racist nation where the "rich" don't pay enough taxes.

Much was made of whether Donald Trump was for or against the war in Iraq back when it was getting underway. Trump says he was against it. Moderator Lester Holt claimed otherwise.

What difference does it make?

Trump was not in elected position, had no say in authorizing the war.

If it's a grand smear to label someone has having a record of being for the Iraq war, perhaps Ms. Clinton should have also been question why she, as a U.S. senator, voted in favor of it.

After her vote, Clinton in 2003 was so bold as to lecture a group of anti-war Code Pinkers on why she felt it necessary to authorize military force targeting Saddam Hussein.

Bottom line: I doubt any Trump supporters will jump to the Clinton camp, or vice versa, after last night's exchange. But Trump wasn't at the top of his game in wooing undecideds, and Clinton was given a pass allowing her to look and sound better than she actually was.

I guess we give it a day or two, and see if there's any shift in polling.



Friday, September 23, 2016

First impressions

Got to say it, I'm loving this little car.



The used 2012 Subaru Forester acquired earlier this week tackles marginal dirt and gravel roads like a mountain goat.

I took it out in a few places today that I would never have taken a mini-van, and even had reservations of plunging ahead in my 2wd Ranger.

Getting the feeling I may regret not getting an older, cheaper one with a few dings.

The one I have is too nice to really undertake any torture tests or true off-road challenges.  At least not right away. Yet there's a part of me that really, really wants to see what kinds of obstacles this little car, and its 8.7 inch ground clearance, can work its way through.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Binge car shopping

Spend Tuesday and Wednesday in auto dealer showrooms.

Tried to convince my wife she needed a Toyota 4Runner, but she's into Honda comfort, so she settled on a gently used 2015 Pilot.

I took what was left over and picked up a used low mileage 2012 Subaru Forester.

Mountain roads were taking a beating on the Odyssey van the Pilot replaces. I've been depending on my old Ranger pickup as a daily driver since my Sienna got totaled in a hit-from-behind wreck in February.

What sold me on a Subaru? When my wife stopped at a dealer to test drive, the salesman told her to hop a curb with it. Ground clearance in a Forester is about the same as a 4Runner, and stands more than an inch higher off the ground than a Pilot.


Cat Max seems to like the Pilot. He pretended to be road kill after we parked it in the garage.

More than they expected

Three home invaders go more than they expected...

A woman with a gun who chased them from the home they invaded.

Yes, the house was equipped with a security camera and caught it all on video. 

Having a gun is just part of the equation in home defense.

Knowing how to use it, and being willing to use it are also important.

The lady in the video seemed to know what she was doing, and pressed the invaders as she chased them out the door.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Can media continue to cover for flawed candidate Clinton?

"Look, if you love Hillary to death, that's your right. But we as a nation cannot afford to blind ourselves to blatant media bias and propagandistic suppression of legitimate inquiry, even on behalf of politicos we favor." - Charles Hugh Smith, writing at "Of Two Minds"




Tuesday, September 13, 2016

As seen on Twitter.... Or was it Facebook?

Food for thought from social media photo art...



And...


Damage control spin doesn't add up

Clever attempt at a cover story?

The Clinton campaign spin is now that candidate Hillary Clinton wasn't the first in her campaign to contract pneumonia.

The Clinton campaign has apparently chosen People magazine to "leak" its spin on a wider outbreak:
At least half a dozen senior staff were felled, including campaign manager Robby Mook. Two top advisers even needed emergency medical treatment, the source says. One top adviser diagnosed at a Brooklyn urgent-care center with a respiratory infection was being treated with antibiotics in the days before Clinton's diagnosis. Another top adviser was taken by ambulance to the ER after collapsing from what turned out to be severe dehydration, the source said. 
Wait a sec.

If this pneumonia outbreak previously sent Clinton staffers to ER treatment or urgent-care, and if the campaign knew how virulent the strain was, why was Hillary Clinton treated at Chelsea's apartment on Sunday, and not in an actual ER?

Another story out of the campaign Monday apologizes for waiting 90 minutes before commenting on Clinton's episode.

From NBC News:
"We were focused on making sure to track down her doctor, making sure that she had the quickest possible access to medical attention honestly," Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook chimed-in Monday afternoon on MSNBC.
Again, not making sense.

Is the campaign suggesting Chelsea's apartment could provide faster, better care than a New York City ER?

But wait, there's more.

Clinton now tells CNN, she didn't realize pneumonia was "serious."

NBC News among those picking up the new spin:
Asked by anchor Anderson Cooper why she kept the diagnosis a "secret," Clinton claimed she didn't — despite the fact that there was no public mention of it until hours after she left the memorial and had put out a statement that she had gotten "overheated."
Despite younger, presumably healthier staffers falling ill from this same pneumonia and requiring emergency medical care (according to the campaign), Clinton didn't have a clue her bout with it might be serious.

Too many damage control stories too fast lead to contradictions. The harder the Clinton campaign tries to spin Sunday's Clinton health event, the more the stories suggest "cover up." The stories either don't make sense at the git-go, or conflict with each other under even the most cursory analysis.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Nearing sunset

This evening's sky over the cabin.


Tree work almost complete, and it's opened up the overhead sky view immensely. We're still tucked a away in the woods, just not entombed by it.

Weather permitting, the crew comes back tomorrow to trim just a few limbs left on our list.

We're ready to kick back and enjoy fall.

This time, being caught might have lasting consequences

"So the campaign chose to lie. The potential reward was considerable: namely, an absence of politically damaging news stories about Clinton's medical condition. But the risk was enormous — and it's blown up in their faces. Because now the story isn't just that Clinton is ill. It's that, once again, she's untrustworthy — and this time about her own health." - Damon Linker, writing at The Week

Reuters also notes:
Clinton's campaign is likely to be pressed on why she did not make her pneumonia diagnosis public until late Sunday.
I think the answer's obvious.

The Clinton campaign thought the damage contained. It had corralled the lapdog "mainstream" media at a safe distance from its candidate, and  believed it had whisked its limp and wobbling nominee to safety without being caught on video.

Then some guy with a camera phone and a Twitter account went and ruined the ruse.


One more, this one from Twitter...