Frontier Former Editor

October 18, 2008

Getting it out of my system

Okay, so I used my lunch hour to walk over to the airport.

But that’s it. A Nikon D 40 or 50 is on my to-do list.

And a telephoto lens . . .

And even if the paint job is spurious, it looks good . . .

And sometimes classic is just the best.

Havea good weekend. I did.

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October 17, 2008

Guess what I got to do before work?

I miss living near air bases and I miss my old line of work. It gave me reasons to get out of the office and do this under the guise of reporting:

I could give you the pedantic planespottter spiel, but I’ll leave it to these folks . . .

It helps when the airport manager remembers what you’ve done before and gives you only one warning.

“Don’t walk near anything moving or sucking.”

Might have been good advice for Bill Clinton.

August 24, 2008

Playing with Movie Maker and old Cold War literature

I’ve been thinking years about doing this, and finally got around to it . . .

June 2, 2008

Something less freakish than the U.S. presidential campaign . . .

Warning: If you’re a PETA enthusiast, don’t watch. If you believe everything that the Stalin-era USSR  and Ensign Chekov spouted, then you’ll enjoy this. If you’re a Tom Savini or Herschel Gordon Lewis Fan, you’ll probably fall asleep.

April 3, 2008

Of great white hopes . . . .

Filed under: ancient history, Cold War, dumbasses, history, tragedy — Tags: , , , , , , — Frontier Former Editor @ 3:54 pm

tsr2-cosford.jpg

As my Canadian acquaintances will note, the Avro Arrow was a world-beater of a design which died an abrupt and painful death because the United States had something cheaper and supposedly better available.

And so did something American, cheaper and supposedly better help kill the TSR. 2.

The TSR. 2 died its rather brutal, quick and typically British bureaucratic death because of a combination of factors, although the promise of the American F-111, a clapped-out modification of the F-4 Phantom, and leftover Royal Navy S2 Buccaneers helped push along the process.

Granted, the TSR. 2 probably would have suffered its share of technological teething pains if the project had stayed alive. But those problems would not have been any worse than those suffered by the F-111 or many other contemporary military and civilian aircraft.

And if its development had continued . . . . what a world-beater it would have been.

Sadly enough, the gentleman exiting the cockpit at the end – Roland Beamont – helped preside at the gestation of two legendary British aircraft: the Hawker Typhoon and the English Electric Canberra and was poised to the be midwife for another if the TSR. 2 had survived. 

tsr2_ad.gif

Google some of the histories of the TSR. 2 or, better yet, go find some books on the subject. If one compares it to the development and acquisition of the Hawker Hunter and other postwar British types, it makes one wonder if Britain as an institution was aiming for technological suicide.

On a lesser scale, my personal disgust for Dick Cheney began long before that scumbag declared himself vice president. As Secretary of Defense in 1988, he helped scuttle the F-14D Tomcat – what the Tomcat could have been 15 years earlier and what could have kept the U.S. carrier fleet a viable instrument of power as opposed to a deck full of short-ranged jets. 

It would have been a bargain, since the cost of remanufacturing more than 400 Tomcats and producing about 200 new F-14D’s would have been, per plane, about a third of the cost of a now-new F-18E Super Hornet. But Cheney pushed for its demise and for the development of a new fighter which, in one of its big selling points in advertisements and literature by McDonnell Douglas, could bring back more underwing stores than could the F/A-18C Hornet.

 But I digress . . .

“All modern aircraft have four dimensions: span, length, height and politics. TSR-2 simply got the first three right.”

-Sir Sydney Camm, designer of the Hawker Hart, Fury, Hurricane, Typhoon, Tempest, Fury, Sea Fury, Sea Hawk, Hunter, Kestrel, Harrier . . . .

October 7, 2007

Band festivals – an irony-rich environment!

Filed under: band festivals, Cold War, cool stuff, Fred Thompson, history, humor, Hunt for Red October, October — Frontier Former Editor @ 11:31 am

I missed Junior’s band festival Saturday, seeing that I was working overtime to help prop up the crumbling U.S. banking system, but I was related a story so rich in its multilayered ironies that I had to share.

One of the bands in the competition chose as its performance suite this year, “Music from Hunt for Red October.” The climax of the set? The Soviet National Anthem. Of course, it was described in the festival program as ‘Hymm from Hunt for Red October.’

While I’m no Marxist-Leninist (unlike the unintentional Bolshevist emulators in neo-fascist’s clothing in the national Republican organization), I have to admit that, as national anthems go, the Soviet entry is pretty catchy.

 Where else but in Southwest Virginia? I suspect that the band’s director was a secret Fred Thompson agitpropnik . . . .

Unfortunately, I have no video or audio of the event, but now, a blast from 1989 . . . .

 do svidaniya Rodina!

C’mon everybody! Sing along!

Soyuz nerushimy respublik svobodnykh

Splotila naveki velikaya Rus’!

Da zdravstvuyet sozdanny voley narodov

Yediny, moguchy Sovetsky Soyuz!

(more…)

September 7, 2007

Vicariously nuking David Albo . . . . or, ‘Eet’s a beumb!’

Those wild and crazy guys over at the Federation of American Scientists have another neat piece of learning software that’ll make ‘duck and cover’ absolutely uncool . . . . literally.

The Nuclear Weapons Calculator (or Nucular Weapons Calculator to our dumbass buddy at Pennsy Ave.) lets you decide just how much destruction to wreak on your favorite American city.

Stiletto: the yield range for Washington D.C. will encompass your favorite Virginia state legislator’s house, hint hint . . . .

And while you’re going MAD on your favorite metropolitan area, here’s a little mood music . . . .

September 6, 2007

Dr. Strangelove? More like the Nutty Professor.

Thanks to Stepher (via Bagel) and Drudge for this cup of morning BWAHAHAHAHA!

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photo courtesy Federation of American Scientists

 Nuclear warheads mistakenly flown on B-52, landing at Barksdale AFB


A B-52 bomber mistakenly loaded with five nuclear warheads flew from Minot Air Force Base, N.D, to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., on Aug. 30, resulting in an Air Force-wide investigation, according to three officers who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the incident.The B-52 was loaded with Advanced Cruise Missiles, part of a Defense Department effort to decommission 400 of the ACMs. But the nuclear warheads should have been removed at Minot before being transported to Barksdale, the officers said. The missiles were mounted onto the pylons of the bomber’s wings.read article here

What I love is the name of the website – The Town Talk.

Mrs. Humphreys recently went to visit her daughter and son-in-law in Metairie. The Daughters of the American Revolution on Thursday held their annual tea party. A B-52H brought five special visitors to town in time for the parish church rummage sale.

And here’s our special visitor . . . . (makes it sound like an out-of-wedlock birth, eh?)

Jump in my Stratofortress

It’s as big as a whale

And we’re about to set saillllllllll

It’s small comfort, but the U.S. military really does try to make it as hard as possible for folks to arm these little party favors. Having had an immediate relative who was part of an arming party for tactical nukes, I can say with some measure of knowledge that they don’t have electrical power to the warhead arming and detonation circuits unless you physically open one up and connect the ‘device’s’ battery properly. It’s not exactly the sort of task one can do unauthorized without being noticed and probably shot and killed unless you have a whole lot of people in on a conspiracy. (Where’s SPECTRE when you need them?)

But last week’s little spectacle makes one wonder just how far up ther collective ass, the heads of Minot AFB’s nuke weapons, armorer and flightline safety staffs were that day. Not to mention the watch staff and involved aircraft commander from the bomb wing in question.

As for their indestructibility, yeah, they’re pretty damned tough if mishandled. But there have been some really ‘fun’ incidents, like . . .

 “January 24, 1961, Goldsboro, North Carolina

In what nearly became a nuclear catastrophe, a B-52 bomber on airborne alert carrying two nuclear weapons broke apart in midair. The B-52 experienced structural failure in its right wing and the aircraft’s resulting breakup released the two weapons from a height of 2,000-10,000 feet. One of the bomb’s parachutes deployed properly and that weapon’s damage was minimal. However, the second bomb’s parachute malfunctioned and the weapon broke apart upon impact, scattering its components over a wide area. According to Daniel Ellsberg, the weapon could have accidentally fired because “five of the six safety devices had failed.” Nuclear physicist Ralph E. Lapp supported this assertion, saying that “only a single switch” had “prevented the bomb from detonating and spreading fire and destruction over a wide area.”

Despite an extensive search of the waterlogged farmland where the weapon was believed to have landed, the bomb’s highly enriched uranium core was never recovered. In order to prevent any discovery of the lost portion of the weapon, the Air Force purchased an easement which required that permission be obtained before any construction or digging could begin in the area. Three crew members were killed in the crash.

The accident was apparently so serious that it was reported to newly-elected President John F. Kennedy. According to Newsweek, President Kennedy was informed after the accident that “there had been more than 60 accidents involving nuclear weapons” since World War II, “including two cases in which nuclear-tipped anti-aircraft missiles were actually launched by inadvertence.” As a result of the Goldsboro accident, the U.S. placed many new safety devices on its nuclear arsenal and the Soviet Union was encouraged to do the same.”

Thank you, Department of Defense, for making me feel safe at night.

August 28, 2007

And in a shameless ripoff from Laurie Kendrick . . .

whose toy post induced a flashback to the days of the Sears Wishbook, I give you my favorite childhood toy . . . .

                            johnnyseven.jpg

The Johnny Seven!

Yes, a seven-function pistol/battle rifle/grenade launcher/anti-tank rocket/heavy machine gun/rocket grenade/heavy rocket launcher! And with extra-dense plastic bullets that could leave your neighborhood rival for influence looking like he’d had 20 TB tests before dinner.

 Apparently my folks were able to get an export certificate for mine, because I brought it back from England and still was able to terrorize a moderate-size ville with relative ease.

Now go to Laurie’s place for some less warlike toys, while I go pacify some local sectarian violence . . . .

August 26, 2007

Flying in my own private Domodevo . . . .

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070824/wl_nm/russia_usa_bomber_dc

 “An astounded member of the U.S. delegation said the bomber was not for sale but that it would cost at least $500 million if it were to be sold on the spot.

“That is no problem. It is such a cool machine,” the Russian was quoted as saying by the newspaper, which said its reporter overheard the conversation.”

I hear they did entertain an offer to sell Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson, Cindy Wilson and Keith Strickland . . . .

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