Coping: Over the River, and all that…

I have to imagine the biggest part of “coping” right now is all the last-minute holiday activities, so I’ll keep this morning’s comments short and to the point.  (yeah, right…)

As of this morning, it looks like the weather is not exactly cooperating:  There are plenty of reports of delays traveling around the East.  As usual, the mainstream media will be pointing out how serious the situation is, but a more relaxed ‘tude suggests that it is winter after all, so what’s the big?

The latest Triple A Gas Gauge report (over here) offers that the current price of regular (nationally) pencils out to $3.258 compared with a year ago when it was running $3.247.  That does tend to back up the recent assertion that there’s little inflation in the economy, so perhaps that’s something to be thankful for.

Around the ranch, we’ll be putting on a turkey later on this morning.  And, about 5 PM, or so, we’ll sit down to a Christmas Eve dinner with all the fixings.  But we’re not doing presents this year.  With the exception of recapturing more of our youth, and planning more travel, there’s not much left to want.

The kids, on the other hand, are getting their checks in the mail and all seems well with that.

There are a few people who contribute greatly to the content around here, who I’d like to personally thank for their help over the past year.  These include:

  • Grady at the project which is where we look at word frequencies of various things, since there have been many instances where words arriving, fresh into the headlines, indicate bits and pieces of the future to come.
  • Stephen, my consigliore/ (a real-life) attorney in the upper-Midwest, is on the mend from a skiing accident a week, or two back out in Colorado.  He’s going as fine as can be expected with a plate in his foot, and I just know he’ll be looking forward to future air travel and conversations with TSA about why he’s setting off alarms.  Our wishes for a speedy recovery.
  • Bernard Grover of our Jakarta Bureau deserves thanks for the many fine reports from the Dark Side.  That’s where many of the jobs that used to reside in the US have gone. SE Asia.
  • No list would be complete without mention of JB Slear over at who always offers keen insights on how commodity markets are going.
  • So, too, the comments (particularly on Elliott wave counts) of Robin Landry up in Shawnee, OK are gratefully accepted.  They may get snow for New Years up in Oklahoma, according to the forecasts.
  • And then there’s Oilman2 who (right about now) is back offshore on a rig 200 miles out in the Gulf.  Hell, if I was making his day rate, I guess missing some of the meals shoreside would be worth it.  His insights into the real oil picture are very important.  Without oil, without gas, we’re toast as a civilization.
  • Our News Analyst fellow up in Winnipeg (David) contributes greatly.  He’s got a sharp, investigative streak and not only knows what the good questions are to ask, but also how to use the wide-open web to find the answers.
  • And then there’s Warhammer, our war gamer/expert who’s no longer flapping with the B-52 crowd, but instead if able to share his insights from the (relative) safety of East Coast academia.  Although, I wonder if the Air Force isn’t safer (in some ways) than the battles in higher ed.  Especially with the Student Loan Great Reckoning still ahead.
  • And last, but not least Gaye Levy up at Between our two sites, there’s a carefully planned (sometimes, anyway) symbiotic relationship:  UrbanSurvival is about right now, get it done aspects of news and current events.  BackdoorSurvival offers the longer, more considered prepping plans with plenty of “How to do its” for when you get (properly) freaked by the headlines.

There are many more contributors, of course, but those folks have been like year-long Christmas presents for us:  People whose word you can “take to the bank.”  In their individual fields of expertise, they are great thinkers, with keen perceptions, and it helps us to have the “steady hand on the tiller” look toward the future.

And on days like this, when there’s not a cloudy in the sky and the chance of snow down in this part of Texas is way off to the right of the decimal point, we reflect on the things that matter:  The making and holding of memories.

And the realization that we’ve been living in that place that’s “Over the river and through the woods…”  But we’re not old enough for the rest of what’s in that song.

Have a very Merry Christmas.

Mr. Cynical will be back in at the usual time on Thursday morning.

Another Great Radio Site

So, we were talking about manuals for the Boafeng radios, right?

My friend Jeff from the local radio club wanted me to mention there’s another good C?hinese Radio site over here: that’s worth checking out.

Incandescent Heating

Reader RD confirms what I told you yesterday about the heat that lights put out:

“Yes, it’s true that an incandescent light puts out heat. ” Yes – it’s very true – when required – below about 45ºF I heat my two small green houses with 4 – two in each – keeps them well above freezing even when the temp get’s down in the teens.

Of course, we’re too polite (this being the time of year and all) to mention that grow lights are dandy for heating, too. (…ahem…)

A Flying Note: Body Mass Index Plan Shelved

I’ve had a delightful exchange of ideas with Tom Haines, who’s the Editor in Chief of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association on the subject of the FAA trying to weasel into the business of telling pilots how much they could weigh before they’d be subject to a special rulemaking which the FAA was eyeing.  I didn’t think it was a bad idea, at least entirely bad. But I did have to admit the FAA isn’t in the doctoring business.

I’d written him to express the view that maybe a body mass index of 40 wasn’t entirely unreasonable, since that’s way beyond obese and well into what I called the “walking health bomb” category.  Still, credit where due:  the AOPA has been all over this because it really is a case of government “trying to make up authority” which they do an admirable job of.

I don’t think he’d mind my sharing part of his email because it’s of general interest to pilots:

In the meantime, after pressure from AOPA and Congress, just last week the FAA said it was backing off on implementing this BMI policy in January and will instead seek input from stakeholders before forming a new policy. What a concept! Here’s the latest:

As I admitted in my letter to the editor, my BMI is in the low 30’s (and a big Christmas dinner isn’t going to help, I might add) but a BM I of 40?  I’m trying to get down into the 20’s.

This BMI grab is one of the reasons that I am proud to be a member of the AOPA: They keep an eye on regulators. Without watchdogs, no telling what government would appropriate to  themselves both in power and taxes.

Flying is a wonderful hobby (I know hot-rodders who spend a lot more, go a lot slower, and pay bigger tickets when they don’t) and the AOPA is top-shelf.  I just have to remember to keep our old Beechcrate Mouseketeer at or below 250 knots under 10,000 feet.  Since the “never exceed speed” is about half that…..

Seriously One of the reasons we bought an airplane was as a kind of “personal incentive plan” for me to hold at one (rarely two) martinis and to push back before chock-a-block full at mealtime. It’s worked dandy.

At least until this morning: it’s time to go bring the turkey in for Elaine (been outside, thawing)  and then back to the office to repairing a cranky computer.

An abbreviated version of Peoplenomics for subscribers tomorrow and, in the meantime, have a wonderful last minute shopping spree – or check run.

Merry Christmas from the East Texas Outback…


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George Ure
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