Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Brick Wall?

Yesterday, I contacted the ALPA (Air Line Pilots Association) and was promised a call back from Brendan Kenny in their Government Affairs division. My idea must have gone over like flatus in a phone booth. Nothing. No call. No e-mail. Nada.

I would have hoped for backing from the ALPA since it is their pilots who must deal with the drunk passenger and make the decision to divert, if needed. As a private pilot, I want to fly the airplane and not have to deal with emergencies inside the plane. Even a sick passenger can really be distracting. With the lives of hundreds of passengers on board, the stress of a drunk and potentially dangerous passenger would be too much to handle. My hats off to the professional pilots.

I'm still holding out hope for a call or an e-mail today.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

An Uphill Battle - To Be Sure

I spoke with "Grant" at Senator Gordon Smith's Washington, D.C. office,

Washington, DC Office
404 Russell Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202.224.3753
Fax: 202.228.3997

and I got the usual Washington bull@#%!.
"Yes, I see where it would be a safety issue"
"yes, I imagine that the certification results for aircraft evacuation would probably be different with impaired passengers"
"BUT..."

Here's what it boils down to:
1) There has to be large grassroots support
2) There has to be local government support (State level - National Governor's Association)
3) There needs to be support from organizations (ALPA, AOPA, EAA, OPA...)

So, here is where we stand. The government cares about our flying safety only if we can drum up the support from some big guns. Anyone willing to go to the mat on this? Maybe you have a contact or an inroad to a politician. Maybe you can get friends or relatives to write to Senator Smith, as he sits on the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation.

I'll fight alone if need be, but if we all stand up and take on this challenge, we can make a difference.

E-Mail Response From Kate At flyersrights.com

David,

Here is the problem with promoting that. New Mexico already passed a law that says no alcohol when in or over their state. What this did to our passengers bill of rights was devastating and here's why.

Although I think you are probably right, especially because air rage increases where alcohol is involved, the airlines argument about State Laws to regulate passengers Safety and Health is that they don't want a "Patchwork Quilt" of State legislation.

There is no way we will get the federal Government to pass this type of law. Too many drinkers in Congress would disagree. So we have the States who can legislate this, however the airlines figured out a way to make it a problem for us with our first piece of legislation.

I wish I could be more effective, but we need to get our first piece of legislation passed so it can be amended later with laws like yours suggest would be good.

Have you called your Congressman and Senators? Fax them letters? That's the best first step.

Kate

Opinion in rebuttal: When smoking was banned, there were naysayers and it began as a patchwork. From 1986 and the no-smoke.org website:

1987

February - The U.S. Department of Transportation rejects the recommendation of the NAS to make domestic commercial flights smokefree. Secretary Elizabeth Dole states that no new regulations are necessary because the market will accommodate demand.

July - By a vote of 198 to 193, the U.S. House of Representatives passes the Durbin Amendment to the Federal Aviation Act of 1958, making domestic flights of two hours or less smokefree. ANR's swift national grassroots campaign plays a critical role in securing the passage.

September 27th - California Governor George Deukmejian signs S.B. 1067 into law, making all in-state flights, trains, buses and other forms of public transportation 100% smokefree. State Senator Nicolas Petris (D-Oakland) authored the measure after reading about the adverse health effects of passive smoking exposure in the 1986 U.S. Surgeon General's Report.

Southwest Airlines buys out Muse Air and revokes 100% smokefree policy. Smoking is permitted on Southwest Airline flights, exposing airline employees and passengers to secondhand smoke again.

I Need Your Help (Updated 16:39 Zulu time)

In 1986, a grassroots effort to ban smoking on flights was initiated and the politicians listened. Barely 2 years later, smoking on flights was a thing of the past. This was done to protect the health and safety of the other passengers aboard the aircraft. Was it rough? Yes, I am a smoker and it was tough, but it didn't stop me...or the other millions of fliers from boarding aircraft and taking to the skies.

In the last week, there have been two incidents where a drunk passenger has attempted to open an aircraft door,
at altitude. As flying passengers we cannot tolerate this! Now is the time for us to protect ourselves against a threat to our safety, the intoxicated passenger. First, some background:

For an aircraft design to be certified, it must be demonstrated that all passengers and crew can be evacuated in less than 90 seconds. Here is a video clip of the certification for the Airbus A380.



As you can see, it happens quickly, efficiently and safely. All of the passengers were sober, alert and ready to get out of that airplane. I would like to see the same certification done with passengers who have been drinking for, say...4 hours (a typical cross-country flight).

Now, ask yourself, "What if there were 1...or 2...or 10 people who had a drink (or 2...or 3...or...) before the emergency?" Would they be reacting quickly? Efficiently? Safely? What if you and your children were behind this individual? Or, maybe your Mom and Dad are flying out to meet their new grandchild? You or they may only have seconds to live. The intoxicated passenger stumbles, they get confused, they block your way. You and your children are now all dead...your Mother and Father are dead. Everyone behind that intoxicated passenger is dead.

Most aviation safety experts say that the difference between life or death is sometimes measured in mere seconds. Do you want those seconds wasted because someone wants to drink? Drinking is a LUXURY. There is no requirement for drinking on flights or in airports.

So, what can we, as citizens and passengers do? Well, I'm glad you asked. Get your pen and paper ready. Got them? OK, take down this information:

Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security Subcommittee
Majority: 202-224-9000
Minority: 202-224-5184


Call one of these numbers and demand that alcohol be banned from flights and from airports. A list of the members of the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation can be found here. Call or write!

If smoking can be banned from flights by average citizens rallying against it, then why can't we rally against something that threatens our safety every time we fly? Make your voice heard and make a difference.

Update: I got a call from Rich Swayze (202-224-9000) and he says that we need to contact our local legislators and demand that they move to have alcohol banned from flights. The FAA wants it banned, but until they get requests from outside, they really can't do much. He still wants a grass roots effort and he wants to be a part of it.

He suggested a possibility that the Coalition for a Passenger Bill of Rights group may also be able to help to get this going. Rich is e-mailing me the information and I'll post it, here, as soon as it is received. We really can do this!

I just checked my e-mail, and here is what Rich sent:

David,

Below is the contact information for the Coalition for an Airline Passenger Bill of Rights I spoke to you about over the phone. Kate has been a very effective spokesperson for passengers, and may be able to help you.

The Committee takes safety very seriously and shares your concerns about passengers that consume too much alcohol.

Please feel free to contact us in the future as you try to garner more support for this issue.

Rich Swayze
Professional Staff Member
Senate Aviation Subcommittee
202.224.9000
________________________________

Kate Hanni
Director & Spokesman
Coalition for an Airline Passengers' Bill of Rights
(707) 337-0328
kate@flyersrights.com

Monday, July 28, 2008

Doug Reeves, OSH '08 In Pictures - Updated

Doug Reeves has posted some great pictures. Be sure to hit [F11] and then hit play. Great shots, Doug.

Additional pictures here.

Virgin Galactic Unveils White Knight 2 - "Eve"

Vans Aircraft Posts New RV-12 Prices

Long-awaited...

The next kit component available for the RV-12 is the fuselage kit. At $4600 it is just slightly more than the RV-6 kit. There is no word as to ship times for the kit.

The RV-12 is shaping up to be an overall great priced aircraft. Unlike other kit manufacturers, Vans doesn't give you the "basic kit" and then nickel and dime you to death on "options". Once they get a steady supply of kits available, I predict that the RV-12 will outsell all other kits, by far.

2nd Annual Ex-VoiceStream Employees Reunion

Sorry for the delayed posting, but I somewhat overdid the weekend and my "rabbit neighbors" kept me awake. (Details to follow)







Saturday, July 26, 2008

Photos from the 2008 Stayton Summerfest

Early morning and the vendors are beginning to set up their booths along 3rd in Stayton.


Stayton Volunteer Fireman's Breakfast


Bumblebee on Lavender on E Marion

Banner on 3rd


More Classic Cars




More Hotrods




David Davis kickin' on his harmonica


Vendor booths along 3rd


Paper Bark Maple on E Marion


Classic Car


Drunk British Woman Tries To Open Door Of Plane

This @#%! has got to stop. I have ranted about banning alcohol from flights and I won't stop until my safety is assured. With at least 2 of the 3 attempted door openings in the last week, the passenger was visibly drunk.

A plane flying from the Greek island of Kos to Manchester had to make an emergency landing after a 26 and 27 year-old female, obviously intoxicated, caused a commotion on the flight, tried to hit a flight attendant with a vodka bottle and then attempted to open the emergency exit while the plane was flying at over 30,000 feet. The passenger had to be restrained by security staff. Her explanation for trying to open the door was that she "not feeling well and wanted to open to door to get some fresh air."

When does this stop? When do we finally ban alcohol from flights? When do we get angry enough about people putting us in real peril and demand a change?

Oh..So what punishment did these 2 women get? Well, since they had no money to pay a fine, they were put on a later flight home. Oh, but they may have to pay for the cost of the flight diversion. Big whoop! Send them to jail for a long time for attempted murder of every passenger and crew on that plane.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Video of Quantas 747 Forced to Make an Emergency Landing in Manila

One of the passengers aboard the Quantas 747 that had part of the fuselage blow out at altitude shot this video. She stated that throughout the ordeal that the passengers stayed fairly calm.

The 747-438 Longreach had been found to have "serious corrosion issues" back in March.

The damage and cause of the explosive decompression are being investigated. The investigative team needs to rule out ground damage or explosive as potential causes of the 5-6 foot hole on the right side of the aircraft.

Memories of the 70's

I have many fond memories of the 60's and 70's. Many memories shook me to my core: Nixon and Kennedy debating in Union Square, San Francisco, comes to mind. Meeting the Black Panthers in Oakland was an eye-opener. Getting a chance to meet César Chávez was a monumental moment. But, what I remembered today happened 32 years ago this month.

It was the Democratic Convention and a tall, black woman strode to the podium and when she spoke, the air became electric. She spoke with such power and clarity, that I found myself hanging on her every word. If you've never had a chance to hear this address by Barbara Jordan, please take the time to listen. It is powerful and moving. The text of the speech is
here and the audio archive is here. Since the audio was not up to today's standards, I suggest that you listen to the speech and follow along with the text.

Whether you are a conservative or liberal, I hope that this speech will move you, as it moved me many years ago.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

International Talk Like A Pirate Day

Well folks, you have less than 2 months to brush up on your pirate lingo. International Talk Like A Pirate Day is almost here. As a public service, I have included this short video to help you get started. And, be sure to mark your calendars for September 19th or I'll hunt you down like a scurvy dog and hoist yer booty up the mainmast! Arrrrr!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Breaking a Promise

OK, I promised early on to never go into politics or conspiracy theories on this blog. But, you know what? This is my place and I can do as I please.

Today, I am dealing with both politics and conspiracy theory.

I was looking over a nifty little
google map application and happened to look at New Orleans and what will happen to it if global warming really takes off. You will notice that on the map, that New Orleans is now at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.

This got me to thinking about the level of inactivity after Hurricane Katrina as far as disaster relief. Has our government "written off" New Orleans as beyond saving? I mean, if the government knows full well that New Orleans is a lost cause, then why spend the money to rebuild it? Wouldn't openly saying that it's a lost cause force them to admit that global warming is a reality?

Your thoughts?

Monday, July 21, 2008

For Those Poor Souls With A Pain Or Bump In Their Left Nut

I enjoy watching the Feedjit Live Traffic Feed to see how people end up on my blog. The latest search came through Google and this poor soul was searching for "There is something behind my left Nut what is it?". He ended up here. I also see a lot of "Pain in my left nut" searches. These people must be sore-ly disappointed when they arrive here. As a public...pubic(?) service, I'm going to give a bit of an anatomy lesson tonight.

Ok guys, take your nut in hand and feel the back side of your nut. Do you feel something that feels like a bundle of worms? That is your epididymis and that is where your sperm mature and grow their tails. Now, if there is no pain or swelling, you're good. If it seems tender and swollen, it could be epididymitis. This is usually caused by an infection. Older men can get urinary reflux due to an enlarged prostate which can lead to the infection following the vas to the epididymis. You may also get an infection if you practice "alternative sex" and drive e coli into the urethra.

Another cause for swelling is a hydrocele. Usually these do not hurt. (I lived with one for over 40 years before having it repaired). Now, how to tell a hydrocele from a tumor. Okay boys, get out your flashlight and go into a dark closet. Take your testicle and place it over the flashlight and turn it on. (The FLASHLIGHT STUPID!) If you have a hydrocele, it will glow a lovely light. If it is a mass, it will not shine through. Easy!

What else can go wrong with your left nut? Well, you do regular self-exams...right? The best time is in the shower when the scrotum is warm and relaxed and is nice and soapy. Isolate each testicle within the scrotum and with the other hand, feel all surfaces. If your feel an abnormal lump, and it does not transilluminate, you should see a urologist at the first opportunity. If you have had a vasectomy, you could be getting cysts (from experience here guys). Your doctor may try antibiotics if an ultrasound shows it to be benign. I finally had to opt for surgery.

Now, surgery is a last resort, guys. Remember that time you got kicked in the 'nads? Nothing compared to this. Imagine putting your "jewels" into a vise and then having someone tightening the vise. Get the picture? The key, if you have to have surgery, is ice...ice...ice and more ice. Did I mention ice? Do NOT be macho and try to go to work the same day as the surgery. BAD idea (voice of experience). Also, be ready for the worst bout of nausea you've ever experienced. Would I do the surgery again? In a heartbeat. I'm now pain-free and I got the 2-for-1 special in that they repaired the hydrocele "as long as we are in there".

I hope that I answered some of your questions and I hope that the trip to my blog wasn't a waste for you now. If you have questions, e-mail me or leave a comment. I allow anonymous comments, so you don't have to leave your name. Now that your nut feels better, it's time to do the "happy dance"


Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.


Now, for all the lawyers out there: This posting is not meant to treat or diagnose any medical problems, for anybody. These are my personal observations based upon personal experiences. As always, your results may vary. Take everything you read on the internet with a grain of salt. If in doubt, see your doctor. If you fail to see your doctor based upon what you have read here, and your nut explodes, don't blame me...you are the idiot who went to the internet for answers instead of going to see your doctor.

Get Home On Time - The Benefits Of Having Your Own Plane

Not that I could ever afford a Citation Jet, but it would be interesting to see the same comparison on a shorter flight with say...an RV-7. I still think that it would be "No Contest".

Back in the "olden days", I had a brother-in-law who was a shyster ...ermmm... a lawyer (resists telling joke about how to tell when a lawyer is lying? You look to see if his lips are moving) He had a client who needed to get to a divorce proceeding in KDAG. To go there, with the client, meant leaving the day before and flying to KONT, renting a car, getting 2 rooms at a motel, meals and wasted time . The entire undertaking would have taken 3 days. He paid for the aircraft cost only (billed to the client) and bought me a nice lunch and dinner for my efforts and we were able to fly down and back to KSJC in a single day. A huge savings of time for him and a huge savings of money for his client.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Another Passenger Attempts To Open Door On Flight


Screenshot courtesy flightaware.com

Here we go again...only this time, the passenger happened to be naked. Members of the New England Revolution soccer team and their coach subdued the man and flight attendants put the man into flexi-cuffs after the man attempted to open a door on American Flight 725 bound for Los Angeles from Boston Logan airport.

The flight had to divert to Oklahoma City where the passenger was removed from the flight and arrested and the flight continued to Los Angeles.

No details have been released regarding this incident.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Drunk Passenger Tries To Open Door On Flight

Ok, so I have ranted on this before. Alcohol should be banned on flights. Here is a perfect reason for this.

Cigarettes were banned from flights, years ago, as a "safety measure". Now we have a passenger who was drinking before the flight took off and continuing to drink in-flight, who attempted to open a door while the flight was going from London, Gatwick to Havana, Cuba. The article states that, "The man had been abusive to passengers and staff on the flight from Gatwick to Cuba" and this was before the door incident.

If your plane had an emergency and had to be evacuated, would you want a planeload of drunks blocking your egress? I wouldn't, and neither should you.

I propose banning all alcohol from all flights and all airports. Having a place in the airport to get "hammered" before your flight seems just plain wrong to me, and getting "hammered" on board an aircraft should not be tolerated. Your thoughts?

Monday, July 14, 2008

6-Step Stroll Through The Park

It is HOT again! I intended to drive to the beach where it is lovely and cool...but, my eco-logical side kicked in and cancelled my plans. I stayed closer to home, still got to ride in my air-conditioned car and burned a lot less gasoline.

I tried a new video technique. The video is comprised of still photos, shot at 6 step intervals along the trail. My journey also led me to post an idea on the Halfbakery. Be sure check out the Halfbakery site. Weird, funny, thoughtful, stupid...you name it! Lots of ideas.



video

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Video: Red Apple Karaoke 7-9-08


I wasn't the only genius who took shelter from the heat and made the trip to the Red Apple.

We actually had good singers, great singers and awesome singers last night. You have to decide which is which. Of course not everyone was taped and the poor singer was omitted, explaining why there is no video of me. I've posted some snippets of the singers who were taped, onto this video.

Note: If you are singer and would like a full, dvd quality clip, e-mail me. You must put "Karaoke Clip Request" in the subject line of your e-mail and indicate in your message the time that your snippet starts so I can send you the correct video.

For a limited time only, there is no charge for your video if your have Yahoo Messenger and can do a direct file transfer. I'll send instructions in a reply to your e-mail. No requests will be honored after July 20th when the original video will be erased.

video

A Hot Summer Day


video

Yes, it was bloody hot here today (don't tell them Californicates who keep moving up here...in droves. We gladly encourage them to think that it rains every day). I thought a video of a placid stream would cool me down.

It got so bad this afternoon that I took a cold shower, fully clothed. Yeah, it kept me cool for about an hour and now my clothes are bone dry.

The music is from 39 years ago. Probably before most of you were born, but still great music. Enjoy. I'm off to an air-conditioned karaoke bar to sip cold 7-Up. It costs $1.25 with free refills. How much is your air-conditioning costing you?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Go Flying with 466 Papa Golf

David Gamble takes you on a flight to French Lick. Great flying and casino videos. I suggest you go to his website, The Papa Golf Chronicles, to get the background on what is going on (including the aborted landing on the way home). Awesome video.




PapaGolf goes to French Lick, IN from D Gamble on Vimeo.

What Is The Definition Of A Geek?

A geek is someone who will drive way out in the boonies* at 03:00 AM to take a picture of the International Space Station as it flies overhead. With the new Japanese module attached it was brighter than a low-hanging Jupiter. I used a 3 minute exposure to capture these images.

Click on the image to see full size. You will notice a blurring of the stars and that is due to the rotation of the Earth in the 3 minutes that the shutter was open.

To see when the ISS will be passing over your head, go here.

*The location I chose is an area in the Santiam Canyon that spreads out and gives an excellent view of the skies. It can be pretty creepy at 03:00 AM though (don't trip on the headstones)


While I was at it, I decided to take a picture of the Milky Way.


1 in 2000 Chance of Winning

Anyone who knows me understands the name of my blog. For those who don't know me, let me tell you that I would sacrifice a part of my anatomy for a plane.

As of today, I have a 1 in 2000 chance of winning one. The Dakota Territory Air Museum is raffling a plane and there are only 2000 tickets available for sale (well, now there are less than that). If I win, I'll be a very happy camper. I'll be sitting, impatiently, by my phone come August 17th.






Monday, July 7, 2008

3rd Time Is A Charm For Oregon Balloonist

Kent Couch has finally made his dream come true after 2 failed attempts in 2006 and 2007. Kent strapped 150 helium-filled party balloons to his lawn chair, packed his coffee, his BB gun, a parachute and 2 GPS devices and lifted off from Bend, OR.

After a 9-hour trip, Kent set down in Cambridge, Idaho to amazed onlookers. Kent was quoted as saying, "If I had the time and money and people, I'd do this every weekend."

Personally, I think that with the expense of 3 attempts to fly from Bend to Idaho, he could have obtained his Balloon or Sport Pilot Certificate with the money spent so far. But, to each his own.


Sunday, July 6, 2008

New Poll

I have had numerous people (well, 1 or 2) ask me to change my blog name. Having "My Left Nut" showing up on your Favorites doesn't appeal to those few. So, the big question to be decided here is: Should I change the name of my blog?

As former Mayor, Richard Daley used to say, "Vote for me, and vote often". Like Mayor Daley, I allow votes from people who are long dead. Also like Mayor Daley, you may vote more than once. Finally, you can be registered as Democrat, Republican, Independent or Vegetarian Party...it doesn't matter. Everyone is welcome to vote.

If you have a suggestion for a new blog name, please leave it in the comments for my consideration (or ignore-ation).

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Windows® Movie Maker® 101

"Mom" wanted some help adding audio to a video slide show. Here it is. If you have any additional questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

Sorry that the screenshots are a little fuzzy. In the process of converting, something happened. It should still be helpful though.

video

Friday, July 4, 2008

Video of Fireworks in Stayton, OR - 7-4-2008


Stayton put on a great fireworks show this year. The had a number of "faux finales" and it really got the cheers going from the crowd. The grand finale brought the house down. Good job Stayton.

Parking was not quite as nice as the show. Next year, I won't even start my car until ½ hour after the show is over. Parking was dusty and with only a single driveway for 1,000's of cars...well, you get the picture. I finally parked and listened to Luciano Pavarotti sing Puccini's "Nessun Dorma". Awesome!

video

Video Stills - Stayton Fireworks - 7-4-2008

video

Stayton 4th of July Parade - July 4, 2008 (Redacted)

If you want to see high-quality pictures of the parade, check out Celine's blog. She takes absolutely fanatastic photos. If she ever decides to give lessons, I'm first in line.

(I'll have to figure out how to stop my hands and body from shaking to even take a "decent" photo)

video

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Long Weekend at the Red Apple

Karaoke at the Red Apple. A nice, clean and friendly bar. If you get hungry, prepare yourself for some GREAT chinese food served by Sue.

Born To Be Wild


All My Ex's Live In Texas

This Man And This Woman

Realize

Every Rose Has Its Thorn











I Cross My Heart

Epiphany

Dead Or Alive