Observations Along the Road

Theatre Writeups, Musings on the News, Rants and Roadkill Along the Information Superhighway

A Day Late and a Dollar… Saturday Stew on Sunday

Written By: cahwyguy - Sun May 03, 2015 @ 4:15 pm PDT

Observation StewThe smell of stew cooking in the crockpot reminded me I need to post a stew of my own; with vacation and such, it’s been a few weeks. So let’s clear out those links…

  • Burger Continental is Gone. We discovered this as we returned home from the Ren Faire a few weeks ago: BC has closed their doors. No more can Adrian, their long-time waiter (and one of the owners, from what I’ve heard) flirt with my wife. They were a reliable dinner when we were going to the Pasadena Playhouse. I’ll miss them.
  • Airline Safety, Take 1: Fitting In The Butts. As we all know, airlines are squeezing passengers closer and closer together, both through thinner seats and decreased pitch. The big problem: That may not be safe. A consumer advisory group has asked DOT to look into the matter.
  • Airline Safety, Take 2: Reading the Signs. An interesting airline risk has just come to light — significant if you are flying Boeing 787s. It appears there is a software glitch that could cause power units (APUs) to go into failsafe mode after running continuously for more than 8 months. Specifically, if all four APUs were started at the same time, and run for 248.55 hours… they shut down. 248.55 just happens to be the point where a signed 32-bit integer holding time in hundreths of a second overflows and goes negative. No problem: That age old advice still works: “Have you tried turning it off, and back on again?”
  • Cleaning Out the Stash. One of the problem when your parents die is cleaning out what they left at the house. That problem turns weird when you discover their adult stash — i.e., their porn collection. Yes, your parents think about sex — who do you think made you the horndog you are? Yes, I’m looking at you. Luckily, there is an adult bookstore in London that will take that porn off of your, umm, hands.
  • Ah, Catherine the Great. As you probably remember, I loved Steve Allen’s Meeting of Minds. Therefore, it is with sad news that I report the passing of Mrs. Steve Allen, better known as Jayne Meadows, who started in numerous episodes. She made it to 95 and had a good life. I thank her for her contributions.
  • Security and Maturity. Here’s an interesting metric: Brian Krebs on measuring a company’s security maturity level.
  • Damn. Yesterday was National Naked Gardening Day. Here’s an interesting article on a garden rework in Beverlywood that not only saves water, but grows vegetables. For future reference…
  • Where to Go For Dinner. Another “for future reference”: Here’s a listing of 20 recommended places to eat in the Valley. We’ve actually been to about 2/3s of these.
  • But What Will I Watch in Hawaii. I don’t know what you did when you visited Hawaii in your college years, but I…. programmed. I have fond memories of listening to the Jerry Lewis Telethon (back in the late 1970s, mind you) and programming for the UCLA Computer Club. Today’s children will have to find something else to do: MDA has cancelled the Labor Day Telethon. I’ll note that it had really gone downhill without Jerry Lewis and the folks he drew in, and MDA parted ways with him a few years ago.

That’s your stew for this Sunday. Now go work out….


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The Illuminati Did It (A Lunchtime Musing)

Written By: cahwyguy - Wed Mar 12, 2014 @ 11:08 am PDT

userpic=star_trekI’ve been fascinated by the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, and the fact that there has been absolutely no evidence found from the aircraft. I mean, there are even crowdsourcing efforts to examine satellite photography! Malaysians are praying for a solution, and the Malaysian government “welcomes all help to trace the missing flight, including from “bomohs,” or shamans, as long as their methods conform to Islamic teachings”. Me? I’ve been just waiting for the conspiracy theories to pop up, and Time Magazine kindly obliged me. Their theories are:

  1. Ghosts. Relatives and friends of the plane’s passengers said they were able to find their loved ones on a Chinese instant messenger service called QQ, reports the Washington Post. Others tried calling the vanished passengers’ phones and heard ringtones even though the calls were not picked up. Many thought the phones might still be on, and more than 100 of them signed a petition to the Malaysian government to hurriedly investigate. That led more suspicious observers to fire off rounds of irrational theories. Did the mysterious ringing indicate the passengers had been kidnapped and are still alive somewhere? Or was it the supernatural at work?
  2. Aliens.“If we never find the debris, it means some entirely new, mysterious and powerful force is at work on our planet which can pluck airplanes out of the sky without leaving behind even a shred of evidence,” said one blogger. Was it an alien abduction? others ask.
  3. Predestined. Reddit is rife with commenters fixated on the numerical coincidences of the flight’s disappearance. “Interesting numerology,” said one Reddit user, RedditB. “Flight 370 disappears on 3/7 while reportedly traveling 3,700 km. Flight 370 flew at an altitude of 37,000 feet when it was last reported using flight tracking software. Luigi Maraldi, age 37, was one of the individuals whose passport was stolen. Malaysia Airlines is one of Asia’s largest, flying nearly 37,000 passengers daily. As of today, we are beginning the 37th month since the Fukushima tragedy, which is located on the 37th degree and initially caused 37 injuries at the plant.”
  4. North Koreans. Others have argued the jet was hijacked by North Koreans and flown to Pyongyang. One Reddit user, Nickryane, claims the plane had enough fuel to fly to North Korea and remain within cell phone range. The dictatorship hijacked a jet in 1969, so Kim Jong-un would be pulling an old card out of the deck.
  5. Illuminati. One guess points to the supposed vortex energy points on the earth’s surface that Illuminati “and/or ancient aliens” who can control the energy grid. Commenters and bloggers emerged to point to occultists and nefarious shadowy figures who helped down the plane.

You gotta love any theory that includes the Illuminati.

In reality, though, I’m surprised there hasn’t been any evidence. I would think that even with a mid-flight explosion, there would be some larger pieces that would survive and splash down, and there would be some components that would float. Even with a mid-flight explosion, the black box should survive. If they landed the plane whole in the ocean, there would be something that would be floating and visible. I just think they aren’t looking in the right places.

Then again, perhaps Amelia Earhart needed a new plane.

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Yak Hunting

Written By: cahwyguy - Tue Jan 14, 2014 @ 7:22 pm PDT

userpic=psa-smileToday has been a travel day for me: LA to Charlotte to Baltimore. In fact, I saw the aircraft in my userpic (i.e., the US Airways A319 in PSA livery) on the ground in Charlotte, and I flew on the US Airways Piedmont legacy A319 from CLT to BWI. I really hope that the “new” American Airlines preserves the US Airways legacy fleet, adds an AA eagle craft to the fleet, and reaches back to add Air Cal, Reno Air, and TWA to the legacy fleet. But I digress…

As today was a travel day, I figured an article about airplanes was appropriate… and so, here’s an article about Yak Hunting. Specifically, an article about hunting down the remains of a Yakovlev Yak-40 in Liberia and conducting an urban exploration of the aircraft. Cool.

But I can’t do a single link to an article — I need to do things in threes. So I did some more searching. I found a really interesting article on a aircraft boneyards, focusing on what is done with both old military and commercial aircraft. I also found this article focusing more on the military boneyard near Tucson. Even more interesting is this article I found on how they recycle the parts of an aircraft. Alas, I couldn’t find the article I wanted to find: an article from Airliners Magazine from quite a few years ago about dismantling an old 737 and how they did it.

I also found  an interesting article on the death of Evergreen International Airlines. More aircraft for the chopping block, so it seems.

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Historical Airs

Written By: cahwyguy - Thu Jan 09, 2014 @ 6:41 pm PDT

userpic=headlinesHere are three stories of historical “air”s that caught my eye over the last few days:


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Death and Technology

Written By: cahwyguy - Fri Nov 01, 2013 @ 6:33 am PDT

userpic=compusaurThis has been another busy week, and so I haven’t had the time to post my usual news chum. Still, I have collected some for you, and as I’m working from home this morning, let me share an early morning collection dealing with death and technology; that is: dying technology, and technology that kills.

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Clearin’ O’ The Links: Maps, Fuel Efficiency, Trailer Parks, and Tattoos

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Apr 27, 2013 @ 11:48 am PDT

userpic=observationsWell, it’s Saturday at lunchtime and you know what that means… time to clear out the interesting bookmarks that didn’t quite fit into any theme during the week:

  • Where Did He Go, George? One of the most interesting maps in one of my highway books looks at people’s perceptions of one-hour away, two-hours away, etc. from their home in terms of transit times. Especially interesting was how it changed over time. NPR has published a similar map: this time, looking at the travel times and distances of one-dollar bills, courtesy of “Where’s George?”  What’s fascinating about this is it shows — at least with cash — who we do business with and who they do business with. It is interesting how it clumps the country into various business regions. The article also includes a similar map for phone connections.
  • Improving Flight Efficiency. We’re all worried about miles per gallon. My car, on the highway, gets about 33 and I’m happy. What would you think if you had a vehicle that got ½ mile per gallon, and you had a technology that got it to ¾ mpg. You would think: gee, I’m in the airplane industry, because that’s what commercial jets get. BTW, that’s a good number when you convert it to passenger miles per gallon, just like when you deal with accident statistics for aircraft. In any case, National Geographic has a really interesting article on incoming technologies that would increase fuel efficiencies in aircraft. It will be interesting to see if any of these come to fruition, but I’m betting something will. The game of increasing fares has some natural limit before the traveling public rebels — the only answer to ensure profitability is to reduce costs, and a primary culprit is fuel.
  • The Great American Trailer Park. Recently, I’ve been dealing with a senior who we’ve just convinced to move into senior living. After only a few weeks, we’re already seeing an improvement in her attitude and demeanor. Close communities are important for the elderly. But not all seniors want to go into senior apartments — they need to be in a community, but also fiercely want their independence. Pacific Standard has an interesting article on one such solution: Trailer Parks for the Elderly. It profiles a trailer park in Pismo Beach that has become a thriving senior community where everyone looks after everyone else. It explores the problems with trailer park living, but also explores the benefits in an interesting manner.
  • Inking the Deal. Shortly after our daughter turned 18, she got a tattoo. We weren’t that enthused about it, although we understand why she got the tattoo that she did (in memory of our dear friend Lauren U, who was like a second mother to her). President Obama has a similar problem: his daughters are interested in tattoos. His solution:  “What we’ve said to the girls is, ‘If you guys ever decide you’re going to get a tattoo, then mommy and me will get the exact same tattoo. In the same place. And we’ll go on YouTube and show it off as a family tattoo.” It is certainly one way to slow down the impulse. So, Erin, if you are reading this…. should we make the same deal?

P.S.: If you’re in the San Fernando Valley tonight and like wine… (and are not going to the REP fundraiser (tickets))… there will be a Wine Tasting at Temple Ahavat Shalom in Northridge at 7:00pm. $40 at the door, if space is available ($20 non-drinkers).

Music: Songs of Peacemakers, Protestors and Potheads (The Yardbirds): “Shapes Of Things”

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Old and New: Los Angeles International Airport, Old Computers, and the Lion that Roared

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Apr 20, 2013 @ 6:29 am PDT

userpic=psa-smileToday’s news chum brings together three articles all related to history and old things:


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Museum Pieces

Written By: cahwyguy - Mon Feb 25, 2013 @ 11:37 am PDT

userpic=psa-smileI’m home sick today. Why, you ask? Because I did a stupid, tripping in the parking lot at temple yesterday and doing a faceplant. I’m home while my swollen knee recovers. But my sick day shouldn’t be your loss, so here are some articles on museum pieces, potential museum pieces, or things that might be found in a museum:

  • Old Automobiles. The OC Register has a nice article on the future of the Petersen Automotive Museum at Wilshire and Fairfax. It seems there is new leadership at the Petersen, and they want to give the museum some love and drastically improve the exterior and interior exhibits. I’m looking forward to this; the Petersen has always been a neat museum.
  • A 747 In Your Garage. While I was burning vinyl to MP3 this weekend, one of the songs I burned was Tom Paxton’s “I Lost My Heart on a 747″. It seems someone else lost their heart, for a Redondo Beach man is recreating a Pan-Am 747 interior in a warehouse in the City of Industry. He’s going so far as to get retired Pan-Am stewardesses to fully complete the illusion. Cool.
  • Jewish Delis. The Los Angeles Times has proclaimed the Jewish Deli to be a museum piece. They are claiming that delis are out of style and too expensive. While I’ll agree that they haven’t been rediscovered by the foodies yet, the really good ones are still going strong. The ones that are dying are the marginal ones, and the ones people think of as just sandwich shops. In what I think is a related article, the VC Star is talking about the growth of Mediterranean grocers in Ventura County. This could just be a reflection of the changes in Judaism — just as Sephardi pronounciation has replaced Ashkenazi pronounciation, the Eastern European tradition and generation (exemplified by the traditional deli) has been supplanted by the Israeli and Middle-Eastern generation, thus increasing the need for Mediterranean grocers.
  • Amish Computers. Planet Money has a short article on one of the booths at the Amish Trade Show: a booth selling computers to the Amish. The argument is that these computers do not connect to the Internet,  have no video, and no music. I’m guessing they don’t need patches that much either, as there isn’t much of a risk (yeah, right, just as the folks that believed they had isolated systems). More significantly, they are offering M$ applications, which are increasingly requiring the Internet. This should be interesting. Of course, the real question is: Why not just sell them all those 286 PCs that just run MS DOS. Those should have the basic business apps they want with no connectivity?

Music: Live In Australia, 1959 (Frank Sinatra & Red Norvo Quintet): “One For My Baby”


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