Monday, February 28, 2011

Leading the Way

I suppose just about everyone knows by now that Boeing won the competition for the Tanker. It is a pretty big deal. The total order is for something like 179 aircraft, based on the 767. It only took 10 years to get here.
First Boeing won the bid, but Financial improprieties were discovered, which eventually let to jail time for a Boeing Executive. They threw the bid back open, and this time EADS (Airbus) won. Boeing protested because of improper proposal/bidding. Their protest was upheld, and the bid was opened again. This time it looks like a win for Boeing.
The win was based strictly on economic reasons. The Boeing proposal was significantly lower.
In part because of the P8-A.
The traditional way Boeing had done derivative aircraft was for the Boeing Commercial Aircraft to build a "white tail" aircraft and deliver it to Boeing Whoever.
They would then tear it partly apart and install the structural components, control surfaces and systems to support whatever the mission was. A very expensive proposition.
When the P8-A was proposed to the Navy we threw all that out the window and rethought the entire process. We spent several years before the first aircraft started production figuring out how to install the structure, controls and systems during production. It was a very intensive process, and the first several aircraft were watched very closely. There was a great deal of scepticism that Boeing would be able to pull it off.
We did.
I think it was more important than even the P8-A that we proved that we could perform well in a joint exercise.
Need I point out that the P8-A program has provided a single successful implementation in a pot of boiling crud.
Having proved we could work well in unison, Boeing bid on the Tanker Program using the business model that had been proved out by the P8-A. So I like to think that we led the way, and proved out the Business Model. Without this established Model, I don't think Boeing would have succeeded with their bid for the Tanker Program.
But then again, I might be just a little prejudiced.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sittin' on a wad

I sold an intake manifold and carb setup for a Jensen Healey engine today for $1,000.00 Cash. So I am sitting a little taller in my chair at the moment.
As a part of my restoration of Frankenhealy, I buy up spare parts whenever a good deal comes by. The Jensen came stock with Stromberg carbs, which although reliable are also ugly power robbing high maintenance carbs. Preferable are the Dellorto's which were only available in Europe.
So I bought a couple (make that three) manifolds, and a couple (also make that three) sets of carbs. I have the best set on the car and was restoring a second set for the engine I plan to build up.
A guy at work was walking by, stopped and asked "Say is that a Jensen Healey engine?" because I had the engine compartment of Frankenhealey as my screen saver. I said "You got a good eye. I don't think one person in a thousand would know what that was." He asked if I knew where he could get an intake manifold to fit the Dellorto carbs. "I have three" How about the carb setup and linkage "I have spares. Tell you what, I will put together a complete setup for you for a grand."
He said he had been looking for years, I said look no farther. I needed to finish up putting them together and needed to locate a couple of parts, but I finished last weekend. and we exchanged Carsh for carbs today.
It's not like I made a bunch of money. I had over $700 into the setup, and $300 isn't that big of a profit considering the amount of time I spent getting it all together, rebuilding and rejetting the carbs. But it was all doing something I love.
Knowing I had these sold, I bought another set of Dellorto DHLA40 carbs for the spare manifold in the basement, using the profits from this exchange. The overall plan is to rebuild and sell spare parts and eventually pay off the investment in the car. After selling the spare manifold and carbs today, my total investment is around four grand.
After I rebuild and sell the other spare manifold, it will be down to around thirty five hundred.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


OK so I'm going to go all politically incorrect here, so if you are a sensitive soul, get out while you can.
We have become a nation of wimps.
A band of pirates attacks and murders US Citizens on the high seas, and murders them in cold blood.
What do we do?
After capturing them we dither around trying to decide where to take them to bring them to trial
What a bunch of horsepucky.
The trial should be immediate and the penalty inevitable.
The penalty for piracy on the high seas is death.
End of story.
Maybe these sorry assholes might be deterred from the path of piracy is they knew that the penalty would be immediate and final.
Who the hell are we trying to impress?
We stick our nose in all over the place where it isn't really even our business.
This IS our business, and we send a spineless answer to criminals and terrorists.
Are we afraid we might hurt their feelings?
I'll hurt more than their feelings.
Kill them all and let the devil sort them out.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


One of the things I do in the winter, when the days are short and the nights are cold, and the cabin walls start closing in is put together jigsaw puzzles. Gives my brain and eyes and hands something to do.
My family has always kept around a good jigsaw puzzle to keep the cabin fever away.
One of the Engineers at work really got into jigsaw puzzles. He became obsessed with them, in fact. He was working a particularly challenging puzzle, he became so obsessed that he had to take some time off of work so he could finish it.
It took him a couple of weeks to finish, and when he did, he threw a party to celebrate his accomplishment. As a fellow puzzler, I was of course invited.
I suppose I shouldn't have expected as much as I did, but when I saw the puzzle, I asked him if this was the puzzle he had been so obsessed with.
He assured me it was, and I asked if it wasn't a bit much having a party to celebrate completing this particular puzzle, after all it had taken him a six weeks.
He looked at me with a puzzled (HA!) look, and replied "Well it says three to five YEARS right on the side of the box."

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Slow Boat to China

I have an opportunity to go to China for several months for the company. Company housing, Per Diem. It would pay quite well. And I want to go to China.
Real bad.
But I think I will turn it down.
Because I can't take Mrs A with me.
I would be very busy helping set up a production line to manufacture control surfaces for the 737, but would still have enough time off to do a little exploring, buy a few souvenirs. But I really don't want to spend that amount of time away from my sweetie.
Even if they would let her come with me, what do we do about the house? I really wouldn't feel comfortable having it sit there empty for five months. We would most likely come home to an empty shell.
R can't stay there since she has a restraining order against her, and I don't know that I would trust her, since she just got out of rehab for Heroin addiction. Not exactly a highlight on your resume'.
Oh well, if I want to go there, I will have to pay to go on a trip. I'll work it out somehow.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Sleepless in Latteland

So , what does the image at the left of this post have to do with this topic? Not a whole lot, and everything.
It's just that I have seen that exact same shit-eating grin before. And it's not the grin itself, but the eyes that strike a chord.
The story goes like this: I was a PFC in the Army, and had just joined the Psychiatric Facility on Okinawa as a Social Work Psychology Specialist. It was one of our duties to do pre-trial Psychological examinations to determine sanity for any major case.
Enter Earl Pleasant.
Earl had served six tours of duty in Vietnam, and wanted to go back for a seventh, but the Marine Corps decided he took a little too much pleasure in his duties. As far as Earl was concerned, it was the ideal situation. He was not only allowed to kill people, but he was rewarded for it.
He kept applying for a seventh tour of 'Nam, and his Commanding Officer kept turning him down. Finally in a fit of frustration, he barged into the C.O.'s office with a loaded M16 and demanded to be allowed to return to 'Nam. When his C.O. refused he, emptied a clip in him.
He was brought into the Psych Clinic in chains and fetters, guarded by three armed Marines, Our head Psychologist was to do the exam and interview. He demanded that the chains and leg irons be removed. At first the guards refused, but when he pointed to the twin silver bars on his collar and ordered them to remove the chains, they reluctantly did so.
I was on the front desk, and the interview took place in a conference room immediately to my right. I was answering phones and minding my own business, when I thought I hear some thumping off to my right, Then I heard a very faint cry for help.
I jumped up and ran into the conference room. Earl had the good Captain bent over backwards over the desk, his hands around his neck, squeezing for all he was worth. The Captain's face was purple and he looked unconscious. At least he was not fighting back or responding.
Since Earl had his back to me and was bent over forwards, I rushed up behind him and very quickly put him in a full nelson. After that things became rather confused, as he was trying to throw Me off of his back, and I was hanging on for my life. Literally. He was a trained killer, and his hobby was killing. If he got loose I might very well become his next victim. So I hung on and tightened my hold until I thought I might break his neck. After an eternity which probably lasted no more than 30 seconds, he gave up and said he was OK and I could let him loose. No way was I letting go until someone with weapons took over control of him.
Eventually one of the guards peeked around the corner and asked "Is everything OK in here?" I don't remember my exact reply, but it was enthusiastic and obscene.
I had to testify at his trial. During the entire time of my testimony he sat there with THAT EXACT SAME CRAZY GRIN on his face. He never said a word but kept his eyes on me the whole time. His expression said "Somehow, someday, I am going to find you and remove you from the face of the Earth"
I honestly say it spooked me, Even in court with armed guards, I was spooked. It is a moment that has never completely left me. It is stuck there in the back of my head with some other nasty stuff. Mostly I don't think about it, but every once in a while something will cause it to resurface.
And when I saw that picture, it all came rushing back to the forefront of my consciousness.
And I haven't been sleeping well.