Tuesday, September 27, 2005


If you know me at all, you'd know that I posses a keen interest in all things avionic. I've loved airplanes since I was a kid (what boy hasn't?) but followed it up with a voracious reading appetite for all things airplane and airplane related. As a boy of ten or so, I'd read accounts of World War II air battles and memorize the planes, pilots and events. I'd dutifully check out the latest Aviation Week & Space Technology periodical at the local library and study the contemporary aerospace industry. Mind you, AW&ST is not light reading for a ten year old, it's more of a trade rag for a very sophisticated industry. I LOVED IT. To this day I still check out the AW&ST website a few times a week, although they've recently put their juiciest content behind a paid subscription service so the knowledge I glean from them is waning. [Sidebar, shame on you AW&ST and double-shame on you NYTimes online, for same offense]

So what am I anticipating? I just got two 1/72 scale P-40 Warhawk kits in the mail. I plan on building them together with my 9 year old nephew. He's a precocious little kid and seems more inclined to enjoy such intellectual pursuits as building and learning about the historical significance of this grand old warbird than bouncing a rubber ball. It's a fitting substitute for what was supposed to be my birthday present for him: A trip to Teterboro airport to see the visiting B-17G "Yankee Lady." The visit, unfortunately, was cancelled due to airport construction. In my perfect world, we'll patiently talk about the plane, the Flying Tigers and other World War II related topics as we lovingly craft accurate miniatures for him to hang from the ceiling of his bedroom. In reality, at least my sister will be happy to get my nephew out of the house and doing something creative for a few hours a week.

Monday, September 19, 2005


Last night wifey & I sat through pretty much all of the Emmys. I was amazed. Amazed that I sat through the whole thing and amazed that the show marked perhaps the most entertained I've ever been watching an awards show. Ellen DeGeneres was a witty host, and the Emmy Idol shtick was hilarious. I voted for William Shatner and some Mezzo Soprano I've never heard of's rendition of the theme from Star Trek, purely on kitch value, but Donald Trump and Megan Mullaly's Green Acres won. To be fair, I cheated. Having a DVR allows me to be able to fast forward through commercials, take breaks and skip the dull awards. Conan O'Brien's attempt to belt out the theme from Charles in Charge during his presentation was funny, as was his writing team's micro-sketch (an innovation from last year that was well-received.)

In geek news, I've finally licked the devilish BIOS problems that prevented me from successfully upgrading my Mom's circa-20th century PC's hard drive. I snapped in a supposedly new 40 gig unit to upgrade the existing 10 gig drive but needed to upgrade the computer's BIOS to recognize drives larger than 30 gigs. (A common problem in systems of that vintage.) Anyhoo, refreshing the BIOS was way more difficult and time consuming than it should be, owing in no small part to the generic, white-box construction of the unit. Major manufacturers package this kind of support much better on their web sites. I had to do lots of serious hunting for files and reading of esoteric message boards on the peculiarities of this BIOS manufacturer. An interesting side note is that the "new " hard drive I purchased actually had loads of someone else's data on it. Egads.

Friday, September 09, 2005


I was all set to dismiss the new Chevy HHR as a Johnny-come-lately to the retro-cruiser market. Pictures of the vehicle made it look like a poorly styled knockoff of a Chrysler PT Cruiser. Then I saw one in person. Let me tell you, it looks way better in the metal than it does on paper. This is one sweet little car. Nice job, Chevy.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


My post on Katrina didn't intend to indemnify the Federal handling of the disaster. I merely (thought I) was pointing out that the recriminations began to fly within 24 hours of the hurricane hitting land and the way the complaints were handled smells of incompetency and buck passing. I have no doubt that upon a thorough investigation errors will be found in the handling of the hurricane and its aftermath throughout the chain of command, but that initial haste to blame the feds smacks more of political opportunism to me than anything else. In a nutshell, with regard to the local and state officials of New Orleans and Louisiana respectively, people in (extremely fragile) glass houses should not be throwing stones.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Gilligan and Skipper are bunking on top of each other again in the great hammock in the sky.

RIP, Bob Denver

Friday, September 02, 2005


Oy, everyone is talking about Katrina, how to help, the tragedy and the dimension of the aquatic holocaust. Beyond that, the big question going around is Whom to blame? Clearly, local authorities, who had first crack at the problem at who should be closest to the ground for disaster planning and recovery, need to have their feet held to the fire for the complete malfunction of civil order and services. I see more grandstanding by Mayor Nagin in an effort to pass the buck than I see leadership. Clearly, he's no Rudy. Also as clear, is that New York City's largesse and civic professionalism had me -as well as the rest of the U.S.- spoiled. Let's face it, New York is rich and important with a budget and civil sector that surpass many not-so-tiny countries'. Any attempts to cast the wider net of blame at this time should be treated as speculation and deleterious to the overall business of disaster relief. Frankly, reports that the Bush administration is to blame for this mess are irresponsible and premature at best. It's actually gotten to the point that German pols have seized upon the notion that Bush's policies on the environment are a direct cause of this tragedy. This canard doesn't even smack of junk science -it's flat out lunacy, and should give rational Americans (and human beings) a reminder how quick some people are to demonize us for no apparent reason. This Tech Central Station article (admittedly from a conservative viewpoint) is the most balanced piece on the Lake Pontchartrain levee malfunction I've read to date.

UPDATE: Free Will agrees with me.

Ben Stein (THE Ben Stein) weighs in as well.