Coping: Nearly Thar; The Wahalaylia Appears

image(Spokane, WA)  It wasn’t a difficult flight, our adventure from Missoula, Montana  (KMSO) over to Spokane International (KGEG).

The weather was absolutely amazing.  In fact, it was really spectacular flying over places like Wallace, ID and looking down at a picturesque town on a summer morning.  Nestled mostly south of Interstate 90 and in a set of deep valleys, because that’s about all there is west of the Mullan Pass, ID navigation beacon.

imageWe kept our speed up over the tips of Lake Coeur d’Alene but after seeing a few remaining spots that hadn’t been messed up by the hand of humans, Elaine found herself snapping shot after shot and remarking on how much the lake seems to have developed.

From 8,500 there was some morning haze, but with a resort along the water’s edge next to a massive concrete road system – and a marina, chock-a-block full on Monday morning – it was a further testament to how marvelously free market capitalism works.

Yet, at the same time, it was a kind of damning indictment, as well.  Got to wonder if there couldn’t have been more than a “middle way” in economic systems.  Certainly not something so prone to central control and freedom-robbing as communism, or even Scandahoovian-style socialism.  But not quite so manic as the flavor we have now.

There’s a paper on the  side that I wrote years and years back about how much of our excess consumption, production, and eventually over population, can be traced back to the last Depression when, 1928/1929 timeframe I think it was, General Motors invented something they called the “annual Model.”

It’s a concept that still – quite stupidly – rules the auto industry to this day.

The good news (such as it is) is that driving technology hard has resulted in a different kind of obsolescence.  You can see the outline of that specter in technology-pushed items.  Like the current roll-over from regular 1080 high-def to 4K television.

It’s still there, the planned outdated product, but in fairness to tech, we don’t label them (yet) as being quite so crass on the hardware front, as were things in the last Depression.

Still, the Titans of software are going a good distance towards angering us with their “annual licensing model.”

The current trend is software is to charge you an ongoing (annual fee) just to keep up with the latest updates, even though the original underlying code works well.  Almost like a conspiracy between the operating system builders and the applications folks, to keep pushing the edge further and further.

Yet, just like the annual model of the automobile, there isn’t that much to show for “annualisms” except in being able to have the latest and greatest.

The difference between a 1936 and 1937 Chevy, for example, wasn’t necessarily worth buying in the depths of the secondary depression.  And in an historic rhyme, we note the average keyboarding speed hasn’t changed since about 1985.

Strategically, the annual model was brilliant for cars, just as software licenses are morphed into nothing more than “rental agreements” and good for only so long as you keep paying.

What will happen (though not until we are on the brink of global war in 2024 (July if you must know) is that as the Depression II gets rolling in 2017/2018, people will again become aware of this “rental traps” and one of the great changes of Depression II will be the re-invention of Open source.


Those are the kind of things that roll through the head as the western-most part of the Rockies, that’s the south side of Mullan Pass there on the left, rolls by and there’s not much to do but glance at an instrument now and then, look out for other airplanes, and wonder how we got into such a state.

Tomorrow, a very special Peoplenomics report (could be a Part 1, depends how tired I am when we get to Tacoma, land, rent car, set up housekeeping, and such) as I had another one of “those dreams” last night.

The lead-in to it is a very interesting email to a colleague on some work we did back in 2001 which seems coming to pass.  It matches with my consigliore’s work, as well..

But the “dream” part was intriguing, as well.  It involved a new kind of percussion instrument which I’ll simply call a Wahalaylia, for now.  Because that’s what it was in the dream.

It’s a new kind of percussion instrument and, in the 2026 period, post EMP, it becomes one of the most highly sought-after ways of entertaining ourselves.

The 500-million, or so, who are left, that is.  The rest?  Well, sadly it’s baked in the cake.

And until a ride through spectacular mountain vistas, I couldn’t put it into words. 

It’s pretty easy to  look at the fastest and latest of technology and be “Gee whizzed” by it all.

Yet riding over the .grounders on I-90, in a pretty good piece of technology ourselves, we are still taken aback, here and there, by incomparable views.

And their most important function is to remind us not only to look at the balance sheet and the technology.  But to look at something far more important more often:

The mirror.

There was something in the air yesterday about small plane maintenance.  On preparing to depart Spokane, I noticed (which clipping the fuel truck grounding wire onto the tailpipe of our airplane) that it was loose.

An hour of mechanic time in a nearby maintenance hangar set things right.  Just over $100…but money well spent since part of my “personal minimums” checklist includes never flying a plane that has any squawks.

A lot of research has been done in the field of “accident chains” and it often comes down to one small thing that went wrong.  But that prevents a pilot from having a “way out” when a second, or even third, thing goes wrong.

I mention this because composer James Horner, a musical giant with a massive discography, has reportedly died in the Santa Barbara area in a light plane crash Monday.

When the NTSB findings are released, we’ll pass them along.  But, in the meantime, a quick course in “accident chains” is here for your further reading.  Three out of four aircraft accidents occur because of pilot error.

Write when you break-even,

George   Proprietor, Ure’s Flying Circus.

9 thoughts on “Coping: Nearly Thar; The Wahalaylia Appears”

  1. Well G,

    The annual pricing model is only effective in the USA, where we have an abundance of lawyers eager to sue and pillage coupled with a huge population of IT dictators. In other countries, if they are not outright operating on cracked/bootleg software, then they simply use the older version. Why? Well, because releasing software that is not backwards compatible is suicide. So running with a 3-4 year old version is just fine.

    This is NOT something that occasionally happens – it is de rigeur for every other country on the planet due to the high cost of annual, per-seat licensing for USA software. It’s just another reason why this country is not so friendly to small business any longer.

    • Yeah tell me about it, upgrading the Q accounting every year just to have it screw everything up the first 2 months. Change for the sake of change, and it costs us far more office time than the price of the upgrade. You’d think someone would test drive these lemons before releasing them

      • Aw, comeon Tom. Like Microsquish, why beta anything… when there’s a whole world full of paying beta users!

  2. How did you enjoy the Fairchild AF Base cut out when departing Spokane? Several years ago we clipped the edge of it they wanted our tail # turned off the transponder and ran for home, Got away clean but paid more attn. to it next few times I was in the area.

    • No worries – two of the rwys at Spokane are closed, so when doing a straight out on 25 (with our rate of climb) we knew we would encroach. So no worries until a rook (a KC135 in .mil land) came in, we got vectored to cross the main rwy of Fairchild ABF. All by the book./

  3. …a huge solar storm ?? l know that you didn’t just make this up, but l have been reading lately that the sun was in a “quiet” phase with little sunspot or other activity, therefore colder winters this year, etc….l am confused ( but hey- welcome to the upside-down info of the upside-down world that manifests upside-down info of the upside-down world that……………..)

Comments are closed.