07 October 2015


I don't remember when I started reading Machine Design.  It's a trade publication for engineers.   I think they published an "article" penned by moi.

After a couple issues, I made sure I was on the subscription list.  Not necessarily for the articles but for Ron Khol's editorials!  I even won an NRAnews "contest".  I forget the details....  A very pro-gun ruling had come down and Cam offered up an NRA cap to the first person who could come up with a pro-gun editorial in the local paper.  My local East Valley Tribune ran one of Ron's pro gun columns.  (I declined the cap on the basis of the only difference between Cam's and my hairline is the blade we trim with.  It also served up an excuse to pick a runner up ;-)  You're welcome!

Anyway, I caught on to Ron Khol fairly late in his career.  He became editor in 1983, I became a subscriber after the turn of the century.  Somewhere along the line his publisher Penton Media collected  a  set of his writings into a book in 1997.

Unfortunately he's since died.  Cancer, I think.  He wrote of becoming a "voracious consumer of healthcare" in his waning years.  Lee Teschler has since taken the reins as MD editor.  And he's good too...  Hi Lee! Ron left reallly big shoes to fill.  And you are filling his shows well.   We are linked in.

Somewhere along the lines I became aware of Ron's a book,  It was out of print before I knew it existed.  I'd checked online a couple times but came up empty.  The SCSon recently bought it up again and the internet search came up positive!


I am now the proud owner of a VG copy!  My biggest regret is Ron is not around for autograph duties!  (Pixelation is in the original)

Ron - I miss you and your editorials..

10 September 2015

What caliber for sniper?

The local Phoenix area seems to be under some sort of attack.   Eleven cars have been hit in the past 11 days.   How can one protect themselves?

No one reports hearing any gun shots. Not surprising when the normal freeway din is enough to drown out most gun shots.  Air Guns are another possibility.

What can we do to protect ourselves?  Unfortunately not much.  Carrying a gun is not a magic talisman to ward off evil.  A gun is only useful when the threat is detected in time.  And that's kind of the point of a sniper - the bullet arrives before anything else, even the sound of the shot.

So far they don't have a clue as to whether the shooter is in a car, or on the side of the road.

Some are avoiding the particular section of I-10  (Most incidents are on I-10 west of downtown "the Avenues"*)  But scattered incidents have occurred across the metro area.

For the most parts, odds are good any given trip through the area will be safely completed.  This isn't the Middle East so I won't be canceling any trips through the area, nor cease using the freeways in general.

I am tempted however to add a couple car cameras to the SandCastle rides.  These days car-cams are inexpensive.  I have one in the air conditioner that takes me around in the summer, and the SandCastle queen has one in her chariot.  It may be time to add one pointing at Cardinal Points of the Compass!  Cameras don't stop incoming fire, and may not even catch any usable video.  But if there is an attack, this is the best bet we have.

True story - I was headed up to our offsite meeting location in moderate traffic.  General flow doing 60-70mph.  Suddenly three cars are weaving in and out of traffic trying to out do each other.  Another mile or two up the road traffic slows.  We come upon a couple spun out cars.  One sideways to flow and one spun 180.   No flashing lights, just bewildered eyes.  It occurred to me later I might have video evidence,  But alas by then the loop had been written over.  (my SD cards are only 8GB).  Wish I'd realized the potential at the time.

Note, this is all cameras are good for - bring the bad guys to justice.  They do nothing to stop the attack in the first place.  But if it can
solve the riddle bring the criminal(s) to justice, bring it on!

Gett'n all geared up and tacticool, is probably not the best answer.   IMHO this is a time to step back and let the professionals handle it.  I wouldn't even OC in the vicinity.  Anyone with a weapon in the area is likely to be questioned.

* Phoenix is laid out in a nice grid pattern with the Avenues on the west side and Streets on the East.  Just hearing an address immediately splits the location in half.

21 August 2015

auto-motif meme..

It's not a meme when they do it. it's a meme when others (meslf incuded) copy (i prefer the term  "leverage" their idea!) and they become meme originators.   I salute thee!

So leveraged....I've been away at conference this week and parked next to this today:

Apologies for the pic quality.   I bought the phone because it's "a phone! dummy"/  Camera and other functions are 2ndary.  

I think it's an 80's vintage Chrystler LeBaronIt's a Buick! with a long horn hood ornament,   I didn't check the state of license (AZ or TX???)   Still this was a bit out of the ordinary, even for these parts.

So memed!

Update 8/28: as Wilson notes, it's a Buick.  Even when I was in to reading car mags, Land Yachts were never my thing (too hard to park!).  I was (and still am) a sports car guy.   Thanks Wilson for the correction!

14 August 2015

Today* I will do nothing...

... outdoors.

We all watched our friends in the upper midwest suffer last winter through record snowfalls while I was out toolin' around in the convertible with the top down into May.

And here is why (courtesy of ABC15 Weather):

Awhile back a bunch of us were duscussing our usual thurs pm up fun steel shoot.  I sent a clip of the 5 day forecast with the 118 highlighted.  (my implication = too hot for me!)  Not happening!

This is our comeuppance here in the desert.  We (might) have mild winters but even when we get down into the lo-teens, it doesn't come with much moisture.  It's just cold, and occasionally ice-foggy.

I'm not sure if I believe that low of 91F.  We have nights when the moisture moves in and we just don't cool off.  Then the night time low gets down to around 105.

The difference between here and our Northern latitude friends is, I don't have to shovel 3ft of 115F anything off my driveway!

I can see the attraction of the snowbird lifestyle!  Should I become one, at least I understand the left turn lane!

* Today assuming it will be Saturday by the time most readers get to this, even though I write late Fri PM.

10 August 2015

Gun Rights Policy Conference

I just registered and you can too!

I've always wanted to go but life keeps getting in the way.  This year, I'm going!  And it's local so I get to forgo the "airline experience" to make the trip.

See you there?

05 August 2015

This seems too perfect...

Bail bondsmen crash police chief's home.  Seems to me the bail bondmen poked the wrong hornet's nest.  They apparently acted on an unconfirmed tip.  I hope they enjoy their proctological exam.
I am surprised no blood was spilt.

29 July 2015

Hot Water is over rated!

The SandCastle has been without hot water for a few days now.

Now if there is a "good" time to lose hot water, it's in the desert in the middle of summer.  The water sitting in the heater absorbs heat from the surrounding air.  My morning shower wasn't exactly "cold", but just "cool", probably about 95F.

Fortunately the problem wasn't the heater itself, but rather the timer that controls the heater.  One of these:
Lifted from the Intermatic website, but I don't think they'll mind
We only need hot water a couple times a day:  Morning showers & evening cleaning.  Most of the rest of the time it sits there and wastes energy keeping water hot that won't be needed for hours.  It turns on our water heater for only a couple hours a day, presumably saving us tons of money.  And of something special comes up,  Hit the square button to manually activate.

This little guy works like a sprinkler or pool pump timer.  It even allows different programming for the weekends.

We are fortunate it was only the timer and not the heater for a couple reasons.  First the timer is a lot cheaper than the heater and it's also very easy to bypass.

So we have a new timer on order and this one is bypassed in the meantime until the new one arrives.

The Amazon reviews have lots of reports of not lasting very long.  Our results are mixed.  This will be our third unit.  The first lasted 2 months and was returned under warranty.  The 2nd, the one that just failed lasted 13 years.   I know this because of the note I added at the time "Installed 10 July 2002".

#include [std.disclaimer]:  No compensation has been provided or promised for this post.  We bought all three units at retail with our own money.  I am all for investing in technology that will save me money in the long run.  YMMV.

Update 8/10/2015 (Head hung low) I have the following prominently displayed on my toolbox "Check the fuse FIRST, dummy!".  It's there because of a circuit failure in a first car that led to a lengthy debugging sessions which ended up with... a blown fuse. :-(  I felt so stupid... obviously this is the first thing I should have checked.

Well now I need to add a 2nd line: "Hit the Reset!"

We replaced the battery, but the clock wouldn't reset and the relays wouldn't operate manually,  so we ordered a replacement.

Rereading the installation instructions getting ready for the replacement I noticed the reset button.  So I went out to the installed unit and viola'  It worked!  Clock and programs are reset and manual works too.

So this brandy new unit is going on the shelf for as soon as we try to return or otherwise dispose of it, the old one will go Tango Uniform.