Coping: Cleaning Out the In Box

I was about to pen one of my long (sometimes laborious) musings and I thought “You know, people might like to know about more topics in less detail…so what don’tcha try that in Friday morning’s epistle?

Well, fine then.  Here’s life as seen through the inbox.

IF Works

At least so far.

If you haven’t been paying attention, IF is intermittent fasting.  Basically, you eat whatever you want on one day (confining eating to a single 8 hour period is best).  And then, on the alternate day, you drop to 1/4 or less of previous calories.

I’ll let you know how this works,  but so far results seem promising…but more than anything as you age seems like the old bod gets a lot more efficient at turning fuel into fat – even with no sweets and cutting out white flour…

Quest for Adventure

Thanks to all that sent in suggestions on what to add to our upcoming cruise to keep things interesting.  Sure enough, some great ideas…and there’s this one about our more or less writing off Europe:

Mr. Ure, I’ve been a long time reader of yours and truly appreciate your musings and wanderings around our great planet.  However, don’t be afraid of traveling to Europe as part of your Bucket List.  I lived in Germany for 18 years, while being a part of the US Air Force.  Needless to say, I was there when terrorist strikes hit our military installations and industrial leaders were kidnapped and assassinated.  Nevertheless, my family and I traveled throughout all of Europe without any fear.  There are many places to visit and experience without the worry most Americans think about when they read news accounts of what happens overseas.  I’ve been to Paris and it’s beautiful, as are the people.  Please don’t let a few ignorant people dissuade you from a marvelous time traveling.  I am currently living and working in China (city of Zhengzhou…say like Gin Joe) and find the people here remarkably polite, gracious, and welcoming.  It’s definitely not the China of the Nixon era.  As an Adjunct Professor at the Henan University of Technology, my students are eager to learn more about their world, the United States, and just about anything Western even to the point of visiting the US should the opportunity arise.  Yes, they’re aware of the crime, the murders, the poverty, and the screwed up government we have, but they want to see for themselves.  So I ask:  give Europe a chance.  My ex-wife, who is German, lives in Germany and would be very happy to act as a guide should you go.  Thank you for taking the time to read this email.

Your Faithful Follower,

{redact]  Chief Master Sergeant, USAF, Retired

I haven’t completely ruled out Europe except for a couple of factors.  The reason Ure International Airlines exists is so we don’t have to run the group-grope gauntlet. Two hour legs, walk arounds.  None of this 9-hour flight stuff.  Deep vein thrombosis is serious stuff, even with a baby aspirin or two.

Second reasons is cost and care to guess who’s cheap?  Third reason:  I don’t trust the Euro any further than I can throw it, although Germany is very gold-friendly – we just don’t seem to be able to repatriate their gold we’re “holding for them” and something stinks to high heaven there.  But lacking a course on the back story, it remains just above our pay grade.

Positive part of German:  Lots of wifi and potentially some payback on the misery of several years of study of their damnable language.  Um-lauts, ess-setz and enough conjugated whizzies to drive one to distraction.  Ich habe, due haBst, er hat…or some kind of stuff like that rattling around.  (A respectful moment of silence for Herr Casey…the teech.)

It’d be worth it just to see if people can really talk like that and make sense. I listen to Merkel and wonder.

Explain SNB Negative Int. Rates

*See previous note on people who speak funny.

A bank does negative rates when people are hoarding cash.  And the interest rate spread is so bad, they can’t make money on the lousy choices they have to deploy lending.

Really three things are going on: 

1.  A screw-back.  For the US getting serious about tax cheats.  They’d made a business out of that.

2.  They are fighting deflation, like everyone else.

3.  They decouple from the Euro to set up a defacto two-tier currency system.

This last point is critical.  In it, we see a strategic hint that if the Euro runs into trouble, they don’t want to be tied to a sinking shoip.  And Franc ly, that’s not a bad plan.

The Fine Art of Generalizing

How good a generalizer are you?

There’s a marvelous article on Situational Awareness in the January issue of Sport Pilot, put out by the Experimental Aircraft Association (of which I’m a member).

While the article is about “staying ahead of the airplane” mostly, it’s also an article that generalizes extremely well.

Situational Awareness (SA) means “being aware of your awareness” is one way to put it. 

And while it’s true that it’s one more thing to remember, I have used high SA a couple of times to get me out of places (like inadvertent IMC) where I wasn’t comfortable.

That’s not the point.  The point is that damn near everything about SA can be applied to school, work, home, and so forth.

It’s sometimes little things (the work checklist:  keys, computer, cash, documents, calendar, etc) or other times being aware of a competitor’s newest product and finding out its shortcomings ahead of time.  When you’re managing a P&L you need to ‘see” several months into the future because when you start making corrections after sales have sagged, you can quickly get behind the power curve.  Same thing with firing deadwood in the organization.  Even the best of airplanes needs to be re-trimmed  as it burns off fuel – same thing with companies.

Grabbing any magazine you want is not a waste of time, if you grad the mental-game articles and then generalize them to your own position in life.

A little situational awareness training in airplanes may not be particularly worthy, but generalizing SA out into all areas of life (its very much like defense driving, for example) had potentially huge payoffs.


Hat tip to Chris Tyreman who is a marvelous graphics artist when not rehabbing homes or retranslating old Hebraic source to extract new meanings from old Bible…

He’s jazzed about the 3Doodler pen – which CNN did a piece on over here.

Yes, you can find the3Doodler 3D Printing Pen with 50 Strands of Plastic, Black at Amazon for $170-bucks.  But I can’t think of anything that needs air doodling.  You know it’s gotta be a huge seller with the Skunk Works types, though…

You Haven’t Said Much About flying This Week

Oh…,true.  Long write up on the adventure over at the site.

Basically, the new carb I had put on 6-flights hours back is not running right (EGT is too high and whole thing is running much too lean, no impact from idle mixture which should give a 50 rpm rise when leaned on ground at idle with warm engine.. yada, yada) so the carb is being checked out by another shop to find out what’s wrong with it.

Yes, we tore down the whole induction side, primer lines, geez…name it, we’ve gone it.  Only one more suspect if the carb passes muster and that would be an exhaust baffle, but that’s such a low prob outcome….This may add to firmness in the pricing of distillery stocks (as it’s the kind of problem that could drive one to drink.)

School Lunch Program

While out and about yesterday, I got a major earful about how Washington is planning to fund school breakfast and dinner programs – this on top of the lunch program.

The right-wing radio talk show consensus is that if a parent isn’t feeding their kids breakfast and dinner, they ought to be investigated for abuse.  One meal a day –  as a family is important and feeding kids is more important than the latest cell phone or newest sneakers, rims, or whatever else passes for stylin’ in today’s FU values systems.

Should such programs be monitored so they serve the working single parents?  Yeah, prolly.

Gonna happen?  Nope.  Federal empire building and the replacement of parenting by the Nanny State.

But don’t get me started on that.

By the time I got home last night (from test running the airplane) I couldn’t tell if my blood pressure was high from the salty Chinese food at lunch, to the nasty carb problem on the airplane, or the schools replacing families issues.

Hell, next thing you know, you’ll pop a kid and sign ‘em over to the state…..and they’ll assign them to a foster home and we will have completed the total monetization of kids.  And with that will come an almost automatic 15 percent of population bound for jail.

F me to tears.  Where’d America go?

We continue the quest Monday.  Don’t forget weekends are not for couching, but free time to investing in something which will pay you some real dividends overs time:  Sweat equity isn’t taxed until something is sold.  Stupidity is taxed at every turn.

If you don’t have a productive plan for the weekend (which is your most valuable time) try to work on that today…I mean milestones, down to the 15- minute block of time, cost estimates, and materials can be picked up on the way home tonight.

Mine is the hydroponic deck railing project.

Write when you break-even…


13 thoughts on “Coping: Cleaning Out the In Box”

  1. “Sweat equity isn’t taxed until something is sold. Stupidity is taxed at every turn.”

    This is the best wording for what I’ve been trying to explain for years to those closest to me!

    Thanks, George!

  2. Pop them out and sign them over to the state. Gee, I’ve read at least 2 books in the last year that have just that premise.

  3. Croatia. Perhaps would be a good time. Take drive to Sarajevo. Spent some time these locals. Thumbs up.

  4. Hi George,
    Back in the 80’s I worked for a company which developed educational programs for schools. We beta tested in some of the worst inner city schools in the U.S., they provided breakfast and lunch plus an after school snack to their students because sometimes that was the only food the kids got.

    One of these schools had the highest parent participation rates and student achievement in the country. When I asked the principal how they managed that she told me that if a parent didn’t show up after 2 scheduled meeting she would go to the home and inform them that she would come to their home in her own car to pick them up if they didn’t attend the next conference.

    Usually following through on that “offer” it only took one time of being embarrassed in the neighborhood for attendance to improve (she was a REALLY BIG woman, wouldn’t want to mess with her.

    A couple of things that came out of that experience:

    1) Most of the people in that area were on drugs, govt money that supposedly provided for the children didn’t go for food and/or the kids maintenance went for supporting the parents habit.

    If the rest of us have to be drug tested for a job, why can’t welfare recipients be tested before receiving any of our tax dollars?

    2) Forcing the parents to actually parent their kids improves the achievements of the little ones.

    There should be some parenting criteria in place for anyone who is receiving (not so)freebies from our tax money.

    The sad part of this visit was that the principal told me that they would lose at least 50% of these promising young people before they got into high school

    What a waste of potential!

  5. I had Herr Casey for German and World History and mostly all we did was watch movies and usually at least once a day he would recite the Hegellian philosophy; “The ultimate reality is the unity of opposites, the juxtaposition of incongruities.” I think he was burned out on teaching by the time I had him. Cleveland class of ’72

    • Fellow actually had a good background in .mil intel – did he still wear his full dress uniform once in a while?

  6. The School lunch just another one of those government give a way programs that will cost the middle class people big money. Now with a republican congress maybe we can get ourselves back on the right track and stop them.

  7. “but more than anything as you age seems like the old bod gets a lot more efficient at turning fuel into fat” That’s not really true – you know – the problem with Old Age turning fuel into fat – we quit using the fuel (which works for any age person) as in physical labor/exercise. Now, since we have the time, we take cruises with endless smorgasbord of food – most of which adds calories to your body which is pretty much cramped on a boat that is only so big with the max amount of space taken up by other ‘cruisers’. You could eat that food – and almost anything else – but waiting for months or years to hike Mt. Hood – you will have load to carry.

    Having lived in Geneva or two years and getting around a bit of Europe – many of them – even out in the countryside speak and understand some English – after all – it just a short drive under water to the ‘center’ of the English language. Unfortunately, it’s the US that has failed to learn any foreign language besides Spanish (will need it when they take over and make Spanish the official language of Merica). As for the French – it’s mostly, if not ONLY, the politicians that have forgotten D-day or Belleau wood and the “Teufelshunde” Devil Dogs. Most everywhere you go in the world – the people – are just people – perhaps a different culture – but generally they are warm hearted and welcoming – eve if you and they cannot hold a 1 minute conversation.

    What family today has time to “raise” kids – the state has been doing a marvelous job of separating children from parents – now starting at age 4. And then there is the forever problem of both parents working off site (out of the home) jobs to make enough money to provide the brats food, clothing and maybe a future education – not to mention insurance for health care, the property taxes, the fees for driving, and the pushwater in the vehicle to make it go. Seems – way back in the dark ages of the 50’s we waggled our fingers at the “old” Soviet Union for doing this.

  8. I’m one who thinks that good nutrition should go along with a good education.
    A couple of whole grain breakfast bars, an apple, and a serving of milk would go a long way to getting healthier happier and better prepared for learning kids. And they’d get in the habit of getting to school in time for breakfast.
    For less than a dollar a day, you invest in the future and and have kids ready for learning.
    Life is really getting tough for families with kids — half of all school age kids right now are living in poverty, there has been no recovery for most families.
    And affluent kids aren’t eating so well, either, with all the time pressures dual income families have …..
    Feed ’em all. In the long run, it will be less costly for all of us.

  9. Hi, George.
    Does restoring an old FT-101E count as productive weekend time? I just began the teardown phase… Cleaning out 40 years of dirt and nicotine stains (not from me!!!). I’m in a boatanchor mood right now. Just got the old HW-101 alive again as well. I’m the original owner. Built it in 1979, back when I was a kid. The original 6146s still crank out 120 watts or so key-down. Gotta love tubes!
    Cheers & 73
    John N3DRA

    • FT-101E time is better than going to church for most hams. Make sure to swap out the FET in the RX front end – the stock one is good, but the cutoff curve is too sharp. You want something with some range to it. See the Fox-Tango club archives for more on restoring Yaesu gear

  10. Have you looked at the table top AeroGarden? Mom brought one home from an auction a couple years ago and didn’t now what it was. Don’t ask. I took it home and cleaned it up. After a couple checks of their website my first try was with one of their stock seed pod kits. Herb collection. Set it and forget it. Was very prolific and so easy it wasn’t much fun actually. The growth rate was so fast that it kind of made up for it. Second round I hacked the leftover net cups and used some rapid rooters to grow my own lettuce. 30 days later had ate all that and was starting again. Plenty of salad greens and herbs for the wife & I and the lone remaining offspring who don’t eat weeds anyway.

    Saw Costco had the new Ultra LED model with a more robust controller for a really low price. Bought one and soon as it was unpacked I kicked myself for not getting 2. Called Costco and sorry, sold out for now. Got this one doing tomatoes.

    Handy for having in the kitchen but I still have a larger setup downstairs for more serious production.

    Deck to greenhouse conversion in the works this spring barring SHTF.

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