Saturday, October 3, 2009

New Toy

After demolishing my first plane, the first day, I decided to get a trainer so I can actually LEARN how to fly first. 4 foot wingspan on this puppy! Even sounds like a real plane. I was a good boy and overcame the desire to fly on a windy day. What REALLY attracted me to this plane is it's "anti-crash" program. There are two sensors in the plane, one on top that sees light colored sky and one below that sees dark colored ground - if the sensors both see sky,
that means the sucker is nose diving into the ground - so the micro processor takes over control and levels out the flight. That's the theory anyway. I bought glue just in case.

And GOOD NEWS!!! My wife didn't kill me when I told her I bought another plane! Cool!

Maybe I ought to try asking for a Harley again. Or then again, maybe it's best to NOT press my luck.

Ohhhhh, off we go, into the wild blue yonder, duhn dah duhn, duhn da da duhn...

(Keep humming that tune as you read this - that'll put you in the proper state of mind for this story. After you get done with the first line of lyrics, just repeat them or sing, "Duhn, da duhn, duhn, duhn ... etc" like I do, because I don't know the rest of the song, unless you happen to KNOW the rest of the lyrics. And I DEFY you to get that song out of your head now that it's planted there.)

The P51 Mustang story (happened yesterday):

When I was a kid I flew control-line, gas powered airplanes. I always dreamed of owning a radio control plane, but I couldn't afford one. Still can't afford one, but bought one anyway. This is my new P51D Mustang. It has a 35" wing span so it's a LOT bigger than anything I used to fly.

Actually, I bought two. My big plane (in the pictures above) won't arrive until next week. I found a smaller, putsy version of the P51 at a local hobby shop and took to the skies yesterday. In hurricane-force winds. Not knowing how to fly radio control.

I took it across the street to a neighborhood school. It was sundown. Literally. My God, it had the makings of an epic fly-boy film, sun setting in a deep blue sky, wind in my hair, bad guys lurking in the tangerine-colored clouds - "I'll get 'em, Colonel, Sir!!!" - and with the lyrics, "Oh, off we go, into the wild blue yonder" in my head, my plane and I broke the surly bonds of Mother Earth.

For about 10 seconds.

Let me stop for a moment and explain that EVERY instructional site I visited on the Internet, said, and I must quote, "DO NOT FLY IN HEAVY WINDS!" But you see, what they don't understand is that I am DIFFERENT. I've FLOWN model airplanes before. Though those earlier planes were attached to wires that I held while I spun around in circles. And I fly in jets frequently - flying to Canada Monday as a matter of fact. Don't they know that the basic rules don't apply to a Veteran of the Sky? I SPIT on your rules, sir!

OK, back to the maiden voyage of my P51...

The plane accelerated across the concrete basketball court, deftly missing the goal thingies and she lifted into the sky. She made an unexpected bank to the left, but my years (???) of training automatically kicked-in and I corrected to the right. Ahhhhhh, level flight. Then I calmly banked her around until she was headed back toward me. It was at this point that I freaked-out because with the plane facing me, port (left to you commoners) is now starboard (right) and vice versa. Also about this time, the wind, which was much higher at about 25 feet of altitude, just SMACKED my little plane from behind and threw it into a dive. A dive I made worse by getting left confused with right - SCREW starboard and port, I'm fighting for my life here! And BAM! Nose dive into the ground from about 25 feet. The plane appeared to have survived. YAYYY! But in my panic, I forgot to kill the throttle (let off the gas). So after it bounced, up it went again. AAAAAAGGGHHHH!!! This time it went straight up, like a rocket. I backed off the throttle immediately and to my amazement executed an advanced aerobatic manuever - the plane just hovered about 8 feet off the ground, hanging from it's propeller. (I shall name it The Dingle-Berry Manuever.) COOL! But the wind smacked it again and swatted it to the ground. Upside down. SPLAT. So much for cool. Uh, she didn't come back up fighting this time. Nor did she bounce. The plane became "as one" with the ground.

10 seconds of disastrous flight and the foam tail was broken in three places. The wing tip was no longer the tip. And the nose cone now resembles that of our pugs.

And you know what REALLY sucks? There were a gang of little kids and their families practicing football at the opposite end of the field ... what were once spectators had become witnesses.

With my tail between my legs, I picked-up the pile of foam shards that was a plane only 10 seconds before and headed home. Short flight.

I'LL RETURN, YOU BASTARDS!!! Nobody can shoot down the Ace of Indiana and NOT pay for your insulence!!!

Post Note: it ain't as pretty, but Gorilla Glue works GREAT on foam! I'll have to drill a few "bullet holes" in the wings for effect. And to explain all the damage in a manly manner.

Post-Post Note: Now I'm afraid to fly my big plane when it arrives. Maybe I'll just hang it from fishing line, in attack pose, over my bed and look at it.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


All the little creatures answer to you. Nice boots.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


A lady I work with and a dear friend is celebrating her birthday today - here's your cake!!!

(Pat's also a superb cake-maker/decorator ... she didn't make this one ... thank God.)

Odd, I sort of like the final, melted version. Kind of Salvador Dali-ish.

The TRUTH about soaring beef prices

Monday, September 28, 2009

Well THAT was interesting

Spent the entire day/night in the University of Louisville Hospital Emergency Room for a family matter.

As I understand it, the UofL ER is a "level one" facility. What does that mean? I found out. It means they can turn no one away. And for some reason, it is considered a "Stroke Center" which is the family business that brought us there. First let me say my Dad is fine ... I simply MUST write about what I saw though.

First, we have the KGB doctor. 6' 3", long white lab coat, never smiled, never worked on a single patient or looked at a file - he just strolled around staring at people. For 8 hours. I kept expecting him to come over and bark, "You vill show me yoor papers und you vill show zem to me NOW!" My Dad and I eventually figured his specialty must be leprosy and it just wasn't a hot night for lepers.

Next we have the singing drunk. They wheeled him by on a gurney and he was singin' a love song at the top of his lungs. If this guy sounded that good laying down and drunk, I can only imagine him singing upright and sober. Look out American Idol (just hide the MD2020).

Another of his brethren, claimed to have a broken neck from being hit by a car though he was jumping up and down off the stretcher just fine - HE started hooting like an owl later from a distant room. Eerie.

I heard a cow mooing. Pretty sure there were no bovines on the floor.

Then there's the fellow that came in around midnight that was so plastered he actually tried to seduce the rather attractive female police officer that had handcuffed him to the gurney. Sounds kinky? No, he was blowing his nose in his sheets and fake barfing in a bag for attention. It didn't work.

Around 1 am, my father was sleeping so I tried to catch a few winks. The cows were softly mooing, and old man owl was hooting just at the edge of the holler just as I dozed off ... only to be awakened by another nurse at 1:45, "It's time to go. Simply click your heels together 3 times and follow the yellow brick road."


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Every other day somebody says ...

This is Stephen King.

This is me.

Every other day, someone tells me ... that I look like Stephen King. I travel frequently and airports are a hotspot for having people ask me. Sometimes 2 or 3 times in the same airport.

My wife and I were recently in San Francisco and a group of nouveau-hippies, sitting on the sidewalk singing joyous hippie songs, thought I WAS Stephen King. They stopped singing long enough to ask for an autograph. I just kept walking, ignoring them. My wife played it up by telling them, "Sorry, Mr. King isn't signing autographs today." I reminded my wife that Charles Manson and his hippie crew were from California too, best to just leave singing hippies alone and not upset them. (I also noticed they had cell phones - NO self-respecting hippie would EVER carry a cell phone ... just us 55 year old hippie sell-outs.)

I don't like playing up the whole Stephen King look-alike thing. I did, however, autograph a Red Lobster coaster for our waitress one time. But I misspelled it as S-T-E-V-E-N ... guy's an author and can't even spell his own name right!

Went to an antique bookstore in Salt Lake City several years back and the owner starts carrying on a conversation with me ... I have no clue of what he's talking about, but I'm politely nodding my head as if I'm following the conversation ... come to find out, Stephen had been in his store several times in the past ... the owner thought I was Stephen making a return appearance and was chatting with me/him.

My favorite episode was in a restaurant in San Antonio. I'd gone to dine by myself and read a book (not a King book, though I do read his books - The Dark Half is one of my favorite books) so asked for a secluded corner. As I ate, I noticed more and more employees appearing and standing around the server-station near my table. I remember thinking, "Damn, this staff sure spends a lot of time just standing around whispering to each other. And 3:30 in the afternoon's an odd time for a shift change." I paid with a credit card and my waitress looked at the name on the card, looked at the large group of employees milling around and shook her head - no, it wasn't Stephen, just dumbass Rick. They were disappointed and disbanded. I wasn't - the steak was GREAT!!!