February 28, 2006

Jimbo da Soaring Boid.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:58 pm

Glider.jpgLook, I may not be a chainsaw or Home Depot kinda guy, but how many of you tree-felling, drywall-nailing types have ever ridden in a glider?

I have.

It happened many years ago when I was in Germany. I was visiting a friend in a nearby town, and he raved about his recent flight in a glider and suggested that I might want to head over to the local airport where for twenty or so Marks (which was something like $5.00 back then) I could take a ride in a glider. Being young and not wanting to look like a complete chickenshit, I agreed.

The Aircraft
I expected to find a multi-passenger aircraft, not unlike those (although not as large) used by the Allied Forces on D Day. What I found was a sleek looking two-seater with bigass wings. I was already beginning to have second thoughts, but bravado had taken me this far, so I went along.

The Pilot
The pilot turned out to be a fellow considerably older than I was at the time, and he was right out of Central Casting for the part of a Luftwaffe fighter pilot, white scarf and all. Upon chatting with him, I learned that, in fact, he had been a pilot in the Luftwaffe. He was a very friendly guy, and he certainly looked competent as hell, so I figured I would be in good hands. Besides, I did not get the impression that he was looking to settle any old scores by crashing both of us into the ground.

I hopped in the rear seat, which is located essentially on the “floor” of the glider. I had to situate my legs on either side of the pilot’s seat. The pilot checked the connection of the tow cable and then hopped in. He told me to buckle up, and he closed the canopy. We were about ready to rock.

The Takeoff
In the past, I had seen movies of gliders and, in each case, the glider was towed aloft by a tow plane. When the glider reached the desired altitude, the glider pilot released the cable.

Not so with this glider.

It turned out that way, way at the other end of the airfield was a large motor, which turned a large spool that reeled in the tow cable. The pilot very proudly explained that the motor was a “Rocket 88” engine. Yes, that’s right. The airfield had gotten its hands on an old Oldsmobile Rocket 88 V-8 engine and attached it to the cable spool. When the pilot gives the signal (via radio) to the Spool Guy, the Spool Guy would rev hell out of the Rocket 88 and pop the clutch.

And, that’s just the way it happened. Of course, as we were bouncing along the grass at ever-increasing speed, I could not help but consider the consequences of a failure of the cable release mechanism and what it would be like to be dragged out of the air by a Rocket 88 and slammed into the ground. Fortunately, the cable release worked.

The Flight
It was quite remarkable. The absence of an engine and, therefore, the absence of any engine sound, gives one the sensation of how it must feel to be a bird in flight. I then learned something that I am a bit embarrassed to admit that I had not realized until that day.

I had always thought that a glider, much like a paper airplane or one of those balsa wood toy planes we tossed as kids, went up in the air and gracefully came down. Nothing more. Of course that is wrong.

The pilot showed me how easy it was for him to gain altitude by riding the currents, just like a bird. He showed me the role that the temperature of the air plays in flying. He kept the controls in one position as we flew over fields and grassy areas. When we flew over the parking lot, I could feel the glider dramatically gain altitude, which, as the pilot explained, was the result of the air being warmer over the black-topped parking lot. He then proudly explained to me that his father had won some kind of award for staying aloft in a glider over that airfield for twenty-four hours.

The Landing
The glider had no landing gear (although it may have had one wheel or two wheels – like in-line skate wheels built into the fuselage – but, I really don’t think so), and, as such, the landing was, by definition, “rough” as you and the glider bounced along on the grass, with the ground inches from your rear end.

It was quite an experience being, even for a few minutes, just like a boid.

The Confession
OK, maybe I’m not as gutsy as I led you to believe. The truth is that, while I was still gathering up my nerve at the airfield, Mrs. Parkway hopped into the glider, and it was she who flew first. It figures. She likes to shop at Home Depot.

February 27, 2006

Air Raid Drills.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 7:58 pm

Mushroom cloud.jpgVelociman, in this post, talked about the Civil Defense Days, when the nation feared an attack by the Russians, our cold war enemy. I remember those days well.

As school children were taught the proper things to do if Russia decided to “drop the big one” on the New York environs (as if any damned thing we did would have mattered). Those were indeed the “Duck and Cover” Days. A few times per year, the grammar school faculty would herd us all into the basement of the school, where they would lead us in song. As I recall, the song we regularly sang was, “He’s Got the Whole World in his Hands”, and this was a public school.

Nowadays if public school teachers led students in that song, the blast that would come from the ACLU would make the Russian “big one” look and sound like a mere firecracker.

February 26, 2006

Jawja Red Clay.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 12:54 pm

Some of my best blog buddies are those in the Jawja Blogging Crew. I’ve been down to their fine state on a couple occasions to do more than a bit of partying, pickin’, and drinkin’. Hell, I even “sampled” some homemade Georgia wine that was so clear one could read a newspaper through the stuff.

But none of my Jawja pals ever pointed me to any Georgia Red Clay.

Georgia Red Clay must be pretty important stuff, because the Georgia General Assembly has introduced a bill naming Georgia Red Clay as “Georgia’s Official Dirt.” (You can read the text of the bill here.)

The next time I visit the Peach State, I want to see what all the fuss is about.

I figure that if Jersey had an “official state dirt” it would be greenish in color and would contain dioxin, heavy metals and traces of DNA from various men of Italian ancestry who have been listed as “missing”.

Via A Secular Franciscian Life

Pizza Topping Quiz. Who Knew?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 12:23 pm

I’ll be damned. Jersey Blogger Ken of SmadaNek, in response to this post in which I noted I would treat my case of Blogblock by “taking a quiz,” if I could find one that would tell me what kind of pizza topping I am, pointed me to this site.

It turns out that I am:
PEPPERONIYou smell good but you’re greasy.

It didn’t produce a picture of a pepperoni pizza, but that’s OK; I’ve seen lots of pepperoni pies.

Oh, and I like to think that I smell good, but I’ve never been accused of being greasy (at least not to my faccia).

Thanks, Ken. I think.

February 25, 2006

Blizzard Slobs.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 5:00 pm

The following is based upon observations made during recant trips back and forth to work and recent morning walks.

When you people tossed trash from your car, or dropped it on the ground during the recent blizzard and saw your refuse disappear under the pristine white snow, only to be completely covered shortly thereafter, what the hell did you think happens to that crap once the snow melts?

Here’s a news flash for you knuckleheads:


Farookin’ pigs.

February 24, 2006


Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:14 pm

I can’t think of a single thing to write about. I have what I like to think of as a Third Degree Blogblock. Here’s how I figure it:

First Degree: “Damn, I can’t think of anything to write about today.”

Second Degree: “Damn, I can’t think of anything to write about today, and I wonder how I ever thought of anything to write about?”

Third Degree: “Damn, I can’t think of anything to write about today, and I wonder how I ever thought of anything to write about. And, I don’t think I’ll ever think of anything to write about.”

Things To Do When You Have Third Degree Blogblock

1. Update the ol’ Blogroll: I really ought to do that, and I just might. Then again, that means I have to open “Mr. Template”, which is something that always gives me a case of the hot squirts.

2. Do a Quiz: Hell, I already know what my Pimp Name is. Maybe if I could find one that would tell me what kind of pizza topping I am, I’d give it a shot.

3. Bitch about New Jersey Politics: Too much to write.

4. Bitch about area codes: Not bad. Wait! I did that yesterday.

5. Write something about not being able to think of anything to write about: Nah. Who would do a lame thing like that?

6. Read a couple blogs and then head for Mr. Recliner: Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Blogblock is for da boids.

February 23, 2006

The Number You Have Dialed ……….

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:53 pm

Telephone buttons.jpgNumbers! They’re beginning to give me a Case of the Ass.

New Jersey is 46th out of the 50 states in terms of size. Hell, it’s 166 miles long and 57 miles wide. You can drive (at 3 a.m., when most folks are sleeping) from one side of the state to the other, (north to south, or east to west) on a 24-ounce coffee. And yet, we have so many people packed into the Garden State that we have nine farookin’ area codes!

It’s nuts.

For example, my doctor (Doctor Doctor) is perhaps two miles from my home – different area code. Take a ten-minute ride on the Parkway North and you can sail through two area codes. Turn west for ten minutes – new area code. So, while a good portion of the country only has to deal with seven digit phone numbers, invariably we have to remember 10 numbers. And, to make matters even more confusing, the area code assignments are only roughly geographical. As such, we often wind up making our best guess of the area code, which is all-too-often incorrect. ”The number you have dialed … .”

The states with the most area codes are California and Texas, with 25 and 24 area codes, respectively. Now, that’s a helluva lot of area codes, but those are some seriously BIG states, each of which contains lots of cities with lots of people. New Jersey, by comparison, has the same number of area codes as does Massachusetts and Illinois.

The people who live in the following fourteen states only have to deal with one statewide area code:

New Hampshire
New Mexico
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Dakota
West Virginia and

I guess there are just not that many people to talk to in those parts.

I remember when New Jersey had NO area codes. Quite simply, there were enough seven-digit phone numbers to go around. That was when not everyone had a phone, and many of those who did shared a party line. Individual businesses didn’t have multiple phone numbers, and fax machines and cell phones hadn’t yet been invented.

Now, damned near everyone has a home number, a main work number, a direct work number, a fax and a cell phone number. Throw different area codes into the mix and it’s enough to make a guy’s hair hurt.

Obviously, staying in touch comes with a price.

February 22, 2006

Hugh Laurie.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 7:13 pm

Laurie House.jpgAbout a month ago, I happened to see an episode of House and was most impressed with the character of Dr. Gregory House, a cynical, hard-edged, American doctor. At a later time I was watching the DVD for Blackadder III, when it was pointed out to me by Mrs. Parkway that Hugh Laurie, the fellow who plays the idiotic, foppish Prince George IV and other characters in the Blackadder series**, as well as the under-worked, over-moneyed and over-butlered Bertie Wooster in Jeeves and Wooster is the same guy who plays Dr. Gregory House.

I was incredulous. I would have bet that the guy who playsGregory House is an American, not an Englishman, who was schooled at Eton and Cambridge.

Yo, Jimbo. That’s why they call it ACTING.

I knew that. Carry on.

** Special thanks to my buddy Eric for turning me on to this hilarious series.

February 21, 2006

Your Birthday Song.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:54 pm

Want to know what the number one song in America was on the day you were born, or on any date since 1940? It’s here.

For what it’s worth, the number one tune on the day I was born was a little ditty called “Rumors Are Flying” by Frankie Carle. And, no, it was not played by The Neanderthal Five slamming rocks together.

Via TigerHawk

No Thanks x 4.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:06 pm

During one of my walks over the weekend, I saw a guy who was, as they say, “up in years” and who did not look all that steady on his feet, fire up a chainsaw to begin the process of cutting down a tree and then turning the big pieces of tree into smaller pieces of tree. I averted my eyes, lest I end up seeing what can happen when Mr. Chainsaw meets flesh and bone.

That got me to thinking of things that you are not likely to see Jimbo doing. In fact, you are more likely to get hit in the head with a piece of space junk than you are to see Jimbo engaging in any of the following activities.

1. Operating a chainsaw. These things really are fearsome and mondo-violent tools. Hell, they even sound angry. I shudder to think of what one of those monsters would do to various body parts should one lose control of it. I suppose if I had to cut wood to survive, I would use one, but I don’t, so I won’t, thank you.

2. Skiing. I went skiing a couple times in my yoot, and it did nothing for me. Skiers a bit on the crazy side, if you ask me. For example, on those occasions when I did give skiing a try, the people I was with thought it a stroke of great fortune that we were driving three hours in a farookin’ blizzard to get to the ski resort. “Great skiing, man.” I was thinking, ”Hell, I might drive for three hours in a blizzard to rescue a downed pilot, but to go skiing? No thanks.” I also don’t think I ever appreciated the supposed rush one feels when hurling one’s self down a mountain. Perhaps that’s because I was never more than a beginner, but I don’t think so. I was always happiest in the saloon at the bottom of the hill.

Now that I have about run out of yoot, I am even more mindful that joints are not made to bend in all directions and broken bones are a serious disaccommodation. That’s why there is little chance that you’ll see Jimbo schussing down any damned mountains.

3. Hunting. I know quite a few folks who love to hunt, and that’s fine. Just don’t bother inviting me. I have never been hunting, and I have no desire to go. It’s not a safety-related thing. I’d feel much safer hunting than I would running a chainsaw or skiing. I just never found all that blood and guts to be particularly alluring. In addition, the idea of getting up at crack of dawn, spraying myself with some form of animal piss and sitting in a tree for hours on end doesn’t do it for me. Nor, for that matter, does hiding in a bunch of reeds or weeds trying my damndest to sound like a duck.

4. Applying for a Home Depot Credit Card. I get an instant Case of the Ass each time I have to enter that place. Power tools, lumber, electrical, and plumbing shit … oy!

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