Monday, June 30, 2008

Floyd, Meet Captain Dreyfus

It's official and not really surprising. Floyd Landis lost his appeal to the Court of Arbitration in Sport and was officially stripped of his 2006 victory in the Tour and probably has to give back the jerseys and the stuffed lions as well.
I haven't read the panel's decision and I probably won't, because all it would do is make me angry and bitter. Floyd will have to sit out this year's Tour and beyond that, going into 2009 with a titanium hipjoint has never been done before. I hope to hell he comes back in 2009.
In the name of all osteoarthritis sufferers, I wish him well and if he was out my way I'd buy him a beer.
The Tour starts this Saturday and of course, I will watch it. But thinking back on it, what you get is this.
What got Floyd across the finish line in Stage 17 was Floyd. It wasn't some damned trace amount of something from who knows where.
It was Floyd. You can take the jersey and the stuffed lions. But you can never take away what he did that sunny day in France.
And if he failed, he failed while daring greatly which is more than a lot of has beens and never was sports fan types can say while they're wheezing on their way to the driveup at McDonalds all full of the righteous anger of people who have never won at anything.
Perhaps this can best be summed up in the words of Theodore Roosevelt.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Irishman and the Senator

Here's a couple of modest and unassuming guys who are proof positive that the opinions of the self appointed experts and professional savants aren't always right. The difference between them, of course, is temporal as well as physical, because Corrigan bet his life he was right and the experts were wrong. On the other hand, a lot of ordinary people here turned out for the Senator to confound the savants last January. Either way, the chutzpah is there in the smile and they'd likely find a lot of common ground.

Average Iowans who turned out to caucus for the Senator back in January might be forgiven if they give each other a nudge wherever they're watching the television and say "I guess we really started something here, don't you think?"

Bigotry From the Folks Who Brought It Into the Machine Age

From the German newspaper die tageszeitung on today's cover we have a picture of the White House with the legend "Uncle Barack's Cabin".
It's about what I expected from the folks who brought racism into the Age of Ford.

Some Things Haven't Changed Very Much

This is an interesting photo of what's left of a Kalitta Air 747 that expired in a ground accident in Belgium-perhaps a rejected takeoff incident due to an unspecified engine problem.
The only reason this is newsworthy is that I spent a few days at Willow Run working on a customer Mitsubishi MU2 and had a good long look at what Connie was doing in the aviation business at the time. He specialized in clapped out Lears and MU2s hauling anything anyplace for anyone willing to fork over the cash, and his operation didn't have such a good reputation in Michigan aviation circles.
In that respect it wasn't too much different than the operation that ended up getting my friend Steve Nichols killed. He worked for National Flight Services and was building right seat time flying auto parts around the midwest. Although the registration of the aircraft was to something called Bay Air there was some connection to National.

News From the Aviation Front

There's lots of news lately from the airlines and it's uniformly bad stuff, much of it being triggered by the substantial rises in fuel prices that we're all feeling the sting of-much of which is partly accountable to the slump in the dollar, which is caused by the Fed dropping rates which was caused by the sub prime mortgage meltdown which may have been caused by a gentleman in Jakarta deciding to order tea with his breakfast instead of coffee for all we know.

On the other hand, the news from the Motor City is even worse, if that's any consolation.

We're informed that United is going to shut down Ted, it's low cost gambit, idling some older planes, and the usual retooling, reengineering, rightsizing or however you want to call giving people their pink slips.

Also, Continental Airlines and Delta Airlines are in the toils of similar measures, which can't be good for the mechanics, tin bashers, tank rats and rivet pounders of the industry. Northwest, USAir and American Airlines are all going to reduce their fleets in the coming year which will ultimately mean fewer jobs for folks like what I used to be. Whether it translates into order cancellations at Boeing, Airbus, or anyplace else is unknown at this time.

What it does mean is that parking space in places like Marana and Mojave will once again become a scarce commodity.

The Month From Hell

As we mentioned earlier the project of moving the Dougloid Towers about four miles west of its former location was going to take some doing but that wasn't the half of it. This is what a broken left wrist looks like compared to a more or less functional right.
Of course, I didn't know it at the time but it didn't stop much of anything. The project simply had to be done by the end of the month and we finished it with six hours to spare and a fiberglass cast on my arm. Cleaning the old place was an experience that I have no desire to repeat. It was two days of unmitigated hell in large doses, and lucky for us the tenants in the building next door to us had skedaddled and left a mess that required a roll on roll off dumpster which we took liberal use of.
We painted two bedrooms some pleasing shades of pastel, primed and painted the downstairs, applied carpeting to the floor in the downstairs, prepped the garage floor and painted it with epoxy, built me a work station out of banquet tables and repaired and repainted the plaster in the main stairwell all before we could move much of anything in. The moving pretty much took up all the spare space we thought we had, so it's now incumbent on us to reduce our chattels to reasonable levels.
Since then I've become something of a fixer of electrical items, because the 45 year old builder grade wall socketry and light fixtures have needed improvements and repairs that are mostly along the lines of replacing tired stuff. The work goes on apace but it is interesting and challenging. I'm soon to become a glazier of windows as soon as I get a good extension ladder, too.
Every once in a while I pinch myself to see if I'm dreaming or not, and I have to say out loud "No, fool. You're home."