Some Snow Memories

Growing up in Macon, Georgia, snow was a bit of a rarity. When it did hit, a quarter inch could effectively shut down the city. There were no plows, salt trucks, or even snow shovels unless someone had moved there with one. I didn’t have my first white Christmas until I moved up here to Indiana. Been there, done that, a couple of times now and am good with not doing it again to be honest.

Our recent snow here was not bad by local standards, but the sub-zero temps were not fun. Something to do with critters sparked a bit of memory from the one real snow Macon has gotten in my lifetime. The great snow of ’73.

When I say great snow, I’m not joking. Here, 20+ inches in a bad storm isn’t really uncommon. In Macon, getting around 18 inches (what we measured, not sure the official measurement) was catastrophic. That’s what hit us, and everything did indeed shut down, including the power. Think that’s where I got my first large lesson on practical preparedness.

When my parents built the house, Dad had insisted on gas lines being run with outlets in key spots. Out in one of the utility rooms, we had old-school gas radiant heaters. They got cleaned up, brought inside, and hooked up so our house stayed warm. Had some of the neighbors come over for warm-up sessions since they had no heat. The government not having f’ed up gas stoves in the name of safety and efficiency at that point, our gas stove with those evil pilot lights worked like a charm, as did the oven. So, hot food, hot drinks, warm-up spot, we did right by the neighbors. Between flashlights, candles, and lamps, we had light too.

I think our beagle, Ralph, was over the whole thing before anyone else. When it first was snowing and all were home safe, it was a great adventure. The dog and I both had a blast playing in the snow. Soon enough, however, the snow was so deep we could barely see the tip of Ralph’s tail moving across the back yard. Could not see him at all, other than the tail. When he made it to the sliding glass door to come in, the look on his face clearly conveyed his opinion that this was bull****. He only went out when he absolutely had to go after that point.

For some reason I think Dad did have a scoop shovel, so we could clear a little bit at need. However, we and the rest of Macon pretty much had to wait for things to melt before the city could reopen. I remember that some smartass town in Alaska sent the mayor a single snow shovel as a gift to help with next time.

Just an odd memory that popped up, and one that made me laugh remembering the dog having to play snow shark…

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

History

Those who don’t learn history are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past. If you don’t teach history, it is much easier to deliberately repeat it because the marks don’t know any better. Also, keep in mind that it’s not a perfect repetition as there are some differences with each repeat.

Sarah has a good post up on history, red of tooth and claw, and why what happened Oct. 7 is not a surprise in a historical context. In fact, I agree it probably is the norm in more parts of the world than people think.

I simply watch our borders, especially the Southern, and all the military-age males who are coming in all alone. Quite a few of them are from the Middle East as well as other Muslim countries. It is documented that hundreds have made it in, one wonders what the real numbers are given the millions of people that have been allowed to flood in by the Biden Regency.

First the Saturday people. Then the Sunday. They say what they mean, and we should be making note of it. If you think it can’t happen here…

Keep your friends and family close, and your things where you can find them in the dark. Be prepared.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Past Reading For A Better Future

I’d been planning to write this post for a while, but had wanted to approach it a bit differently. Yesterday’s post, however, reinforced the need to get this out there. For all that I think a number of schemes have gone south on people, I am very much afraid we are in for interesting times. How much so, well, that’s part of the question.

While some of this does very much apply to the political and other struggles to come, much of it looks beyond those to what comes after.

Regime change, be it from within or without, is a daunting task. It takes far more than a mere force of arms to effect such. It does indeed quite often take arms, but it also takes education, the shaping and sharing of public opinion, a hope if not a plan for something better, and acts of political will. It takes a cadre of sharp and dedicated people who understand not only what’s at stake, but the security to plan and implement those plans.

Historically, most revolutions fail. From the Gunpowder Plot to the Whiskey Rebellion, from the Nubian Revolt in ancient Egypt to the Rebellion of the Three Guards in ancient China, few revolutions succeed. Of those that meet the immediate goal and win the immediate victory, they often rapidly lose the peace with extreme and brutal results. The French Revolution being but one example.

As such, few today (particularly amongst the younger generations) appreciate just how unique and unusual the American Revolution is from almost any vantage point. The Founding Fathers not only laid the philosophical groundwork within the colonies (shaping public opinion), but also the diplomatic and logistical groundwork needed for success. Success being not just overthrowing the Crown, but in establishing over time a novel government founded on the belief that reasonable people could make decisions on their own not only in their best interest, but in the best interest of the country as a whole.

Philosophically, it is a novel and still relatively new idea. Historically, the concept had been that the peasants could not and were not capable of self-rule and therefore needed kings and nobles (however they were labeled) to make such decisions for them. Thus, the new nation that was the United States became known to many as “The Great Experiment.” For all that there had been various Republics before (to appease the pedantic) none had truly taken the concept as far as did our Founding Fathers.

Why and how they did so lies in what they read, and the public debates and discussions of same. It also owes a small bit to the fiction they enjoyed, and shared with each other, spouses, and in some cases the public. All of this presented a common frame of reference that spanned all strata of colonial society. That common frame of reference is something that existed up until the last century, and it’s wanton and willful destruction is a topic for another day.

What we desperately need now and in the days ahead is to re-establish that common framework and add to it. Not to foment revolution, rather, to remind ourselves of the true philosophical foundations of our government and to provide goals for securing individual liberty no matter what may come. To ensuring that current generations, especially the younger, understand the concepts of Natural Law and proper discourse.

However, allow me to start with some of the fiction that our Founding Fathers read, and add to it a bit.

The Expedition of Humphrey Clinker – Tobias Smollett

Beauty and the Beast – Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont

Tristram Shandy – Laurence Sterne

To those I would add: The Honor Harrington series by David Weber; Troy Rising series by John Ringo; The Probability Broach by L. Neil Smith; and the 1632 series by Eric Flint (et al). Feel free to add to this list in the comments.

Now, given the rampant censorship, the idea that words are violence, and a general loathing of actual discourse in today’s youth (and others) a book that caught the eye of the Founding Fathers was Rules of Civility by Brookhiser. There was another that is slipping my mind on civil discourse (stupid lightning) that helped set the stage for the discussions and debates that preceded the Revolution. If anyone knows which it was, or if you have suggestions for more modern takes that encourage respect, consideration, and discourse, please add them to the comments.

As for the other works that set the stage for what became America, go here. The list is extensive and while I do have my favorites, a perusal of most of these is rewarding all on its own. As is reading the letters and debates (Federalist Papers for one example) that surround the move from the Articles of Confederation to what became our Constitution.

The Constitution, with the Bill of Rights, is one of the most amazing documents of governance ever written. Could it be improved? Perhaps. Personally I’d love to slip term limits and some additional blocks on the expansion of Federal power into it, but I’m biased.

Civics needs to be restored as a part of our education, be it in schools or unofficially through other means. Understanding our nation, it’s founding, and the philosophical framework of The Great Experiment is essential to the Republic and to our future. It is even more important to navigating interesting times and what lies after.

Knowing why the Founding Fathers made the choices they did, not just in governance, but in deciding when and how to act and the framework that went into the Revolution and what came after is still important today. I suspect it may be even more so to the future. Knowing these things is a way to avoid mistakes and excesses, and to ensuring the continuation of the Republic.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Stolen F-35?

Sarah A. Hoyt has raised the possibility that the missing F-35 has been “stolen.” Rather, it has been given by corrupt figures in the military and government to China. That the incident and ejection have been faked to cover up that action.

I will state that such is a possibility. I do not, however, see it as a probability at this time. Before I get into some of that, let me preface with a few remarks and conditions. My own ejection training is a decade or two out of date, and was primarily focused on two-seat fighters. I got the training while getting my physiological training certificate at Little Rock. When it comes to ejection systems, I am most familiar with the ACESII system which used to be quite the thing.

Some quick notes. First, ejection is NOT fun as you are subjected to a large number of G’s and potentially some other delights. Common injuries were neck and back, though broken limbs (arms and legs) were not uncommon on some previous systems as if you didn’t have them in the right spot/position, they not only caught force they could also catch parts of the plane as you rapidly left it. Ouch.

Second, another common accident was having the person ejecting forget to transfer their oxygen hose from the main panel to the seat bottle. The little green apple of the seat bottle is your friend. There is a reason that used to be practiced during both physiological and ejection training. If you don’t remember to do that, as you leave the plane the mask is rather violently ripped from your face and helmet, and often did bad things to your neck and sometimes to your face and neck. Failing to switch fell under the category of “Very Bad Thing” as a result.

Third, the activation of an ejection seat usually triggers a beacon to help guide SAR to the downed pilot. This is separate from any Emergency Locator Beacon (ELB) on the plane itself. As an FYI, on civilian planes it is possible to manually activate the ELB, my memory is fuzzy (stupid lightning) on military craft. Seem to recall that it depended on the aircraft. Yes, military craft do tend to have such to aid in recovery (or destruction at need).

Fourth, no matter the system, the canopy goes bye bye in the process. In a normal ejection per my training, a charge blew the canopy back and away so you didn’t end up like Goose in Top Gun. Also, if your seat failed when you pulled the cord, the alternative was to raise the canopy and let the slipstream rip it off. As it did so, a lanyard was yanked and the secondary system (hopefully) would succeed where the primary failed. Today, you have that, canopies that allegedly fragment, and others — like the F-35 — that split in two so you can get safely launched. See here, here, and here for more info on the F-35 system.

The system in the F-35 works at ground level, which is quite an improvement as earlier system really needed you at 200 feet or higher to work properly. There are some other wrinkles that are fascinating including that it can apparently act automatically without pilot input.

BTW, putting the plane on autopilot when departing mid-flight goes back to WWII. You wanted/needed a steady platform as there were no ejection seats, and if the plane wasn’t under control of the auotpilot or a courageous pilot, it tended to do maneuvers that prevented the crew from leaving. Training was (is?) to do everything you can to hold it steady or to have the plane hold things steady. It makes your departure much smoother and helps prevent any number of injuries. It is interesting to note that some aircraft just keep plugging along after the pilot has left, while others tend to go immediately out of control.

UPDATE: See this comment for one such incident in the late 80s.

In this case, the pilot was apparently seen coming down under canopy, more details here. Side note, glad to see AvLeak is still around. Could it have been faked, such as pushing him in a seat out the back of a transport? Sure. But, no such plane appears to have been nearby at the time. Two, if there were, guarantee a number of the Aviation OSINT folk would have been talking about it by now. Expect to see some serious digging by these fine folks soon.

For all it is highly automated, and features MAGIC CARPET and other delights, it’s really not capable of automated landing. It can get darned close I’m told, but not there. FYI, the old MLS (such as on the Shuttle and other craft) never did truly work as advertised I’m told. We are getting closer, but not there yet. So, the idea of programming the plane to keep flying, go full stealth, and land at an undisclosed location without human intervention is rather unlikely.

Which brings us to the other fly in the ointment. From a purely intel/black ops standpoint, using this type of event to steal one is not very likely. In fact, I can think of a couple of dozen reasons not to do it this way. KISS rules, and I’m not talking the band. Doing it this way violates KISS in so many ways I can’t count them all. In short, secrets keep the fewer are involved. When you court the public, flight trackers, a wingman, and a host of others involved, you are NOT keeping it simple in the ways that count.

Frankly, if I were to want to do a public disappearance, it would be one plane, over water. The fewer who know what is going on, the better. Actually, the easiest way to get one and ship it to the enemy would be via paperwork and that is frighteningly easy to do. No fuss, no muss, no real paper trail, and it would only need a very small number of people to make it happen. That’s also about as far as I’m going to go on that too.

Now, I admit I’m more than a little curious why the transponder quit working and why no ELB (yet). In defense of the transponder, having a rocket motor go off right in front of you can be a bit disconcerting. If the plane went down in water, the ELB is going to be problematic to detect if it works.

Right now, I’m leaning towards the plane having remained in auto pilot and it did some form of soft landing, most likely in water. If it had done a soft landing on land, odds are we should have had some sign of it but that is not guaranteed. Until we have more data, all we can do is speculate. Again, I’m leaning towards the F-35 doing a modern version of a WWII ghost plane, but until we have hard data…

UPDATE: I was wrong about water, it did indeed apparently hit on land. Sad thing is, at this point, even if every part matches it won’t really matter.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Missing Pt. 2

Okay, part one was tongue in cheek. But, this is the stuff of legends. Did it crash into a lake? Did it just come down somewhere relatively intact? Did it go down at sea?

If you go back and read about aviation in WWII, you are going to come across a number of documented stories where planes made it back to England — without their crews. One I remember reading about, the crew bailed out as the plane was loosing altitude such that the didn’t think it would clear the coast. So, they all bailed out. This lightened the load such that the plane not only cleared the coast, it did a near perfect belly landing at the field from which it had departed. Freaked the ever living out of the people there when they found no crewmembers inside.

I seem to recall the late, great, Martin Caidin writing about some of these, including an incident he witnessed during a commemoration flight.

A lot of modern planes, however, don’t do well if they lose computer control and such. In fact, a couple of them will just about come apart if they lose such controls at speed. However, if they keep that control and are on a steady path via autopilot, who knows?

So, go back and read up on some of the ghost planes of WWII. It’s fun and it says a lot about how rugged the planes then truly were. Only time will tell if we are about to add a modern tale to the mix.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

September 11

God Bless Rick Rescorla. God Bless all those who went (back) in and up that day, seeking to save as many as they could. God Bless those who didn’t make it out. God Bless the heroes on that plane who fought to take back control. Remember them all this day.

Falling From The Sky

More serious post coming tomorrow I hope, but for now, this. About 0200 this morning, my brain decided I needed to be up and thinking about skydiving. Since I had to suffer through it, thought I would share the suffering. Well, and some laughter too.

Many, many moons ago, I did indeed jump out of perfectly good airplanes and fall from the sky. I joined the university sky diving club, and in addition to the first jump lessons jumped in on much more. I learned to pack a chute, was getting trained on packing reserves, and enjoyed the company of a crazy but interesting group of people. Not going to share too many names and such, just in case any shenanigans might not have had their statute of limitations expire. Or some people might not want to admit they were at certain parties or did certain things including jump out of perfectly good airplanes.

I do still remember my first jump (thank you lightning for leaving that one intact). Beautiful day, puffy clouds in the sky, you really couldn’t ask for better. Now, being a small club we jumped from a small plane. No ramp, no standing in the door, just a somewhat uncomfortable ride up, hook up your static line (first jumps are made so you really have to work at it to F up), then get out on a little step/platform while holding onto the wing strut. Jumpmaster makes a final check, reassures you, then has you let go and go into proper jump position.

For me, I barely hit the arch when the static line hit and the chute opened. It’s hard to describe the sensation of the chute opening, but imagine King Kong yanking you up by your harness as hard as he can. Not bad, but you do feel it. Per training, I quickly checked to be sure my chute was good, then enjoyed the view. On my way down, I went through a cloud which was amazing. Cool, moist, slightly gray whispiness. Really wish it could have lasted longer as it was neat.

Soon it was time to land, and I actually made the drop zone. In what became a trend, my Parachute Landing Fall (PLF) was somewhat spectacular. Not in a good way either. But, any landing you walk away from jumping out of planes or flying them is a good one. I walked away, and mentally was ready to go again.

In short, it was a pretty good first jump. Not so much for my buddy who I will call “Mike”. Mike was a bodybuilder/weightlifter who had muscles on muscles. Even our baggy jump suits (designed to help you play flying squirrel while in freefall) could not hide his physique. What it did hide, however, was an issue for him.

Mike left the plane right after me, and I was looking around after checking my chute and such. I heard a scream above me, a male voice rising rapidly. I looked up, and there was Mike, literally pulling himself up his shrouds one-handed while the other frantically tried to get one of his leg straps off his balls. Yep, he made the mistake you only make once and had not gotten his leg straps in the right position. Baggy jump suits do make that a bit difficult to be fair. That said, the King Kong sensation I mentioned earlier becomes more like having Hammering Hank in his prime hit your groin with a baseball bat. Been told it feels like that for the ladies too.

Mike made it on down safely, did a good PLF, and oddly enough had his leg straps undone almost immediately. It was his first and last jump.

First jumps bring out a number of odd reactions. There was a young lady who wanted to jump and so went through the lessons the club offered. Seemed nice enough but also a bit flaky in some ways, so it was decided to hook her up with a voice-operated radio so she could be coached from the ground if need be. Our reserves had an automatic opening system, so you were pretty much guaranteed to make it down in one piece, one way or another.

I was on the ground near the instructors when she jumped, and we were all watching. She did two things not uncommon on a first jump. First, she screamed. She kept screaming, and we heard it clear as day courtesy of the voice-activated radio. Second, she was a runner. If she had been on the ground I think she would have done 0-60 in under five seconds. Unlike most, she kept running even after the chute opened.

Since she was still screaming, the instructors could not coach her. Which she needed as she seemed to forget everything she had been taught. She even pulled both toggles down at once, which collapses your chute. Radio useless, we all started shouting from the ground. Thankfully, she did finally release the toggles and the chute did open back up. Even with us yelling instructions up to her, I don’t think she ever did really steer herself towards the drop zone. Instead, she came down onto the parking apron of the airport, still running, hit, and pitched face forward into the asphalt. Proof that God looks after fools and drunks, she got up without a scratch.

As we were around her, making sure she was unhurt, she said something to the effect ‘that wasn’t so bad. Can I go again?” I think the resounding no from more than one person hurt her feelings. That said, I don’t think she realized how close she came to potentially being a cake — as in a splat cake. If she hadn’t let go of the toggles, no one was sure if the auto-deploy on the reserve would have work based on velocity. Add in the lack of steering and no attempt at PLF, well…

Besides, you did need to steer. One reason was that the airport where we jumped, there was a guard dog kennel nearby. The dogs there viewed our arrival each Saturday as if it was that of a Chicken Delight truck. I’m not saying they put on bibs and salivated as they watched us, but… One of the members I got to know had a close call with them, as his departure from the plane was such that it made hitting the airport interesting. Since we were using round chutes mostly (squares/parasails were a very new thing), you didn’t have a lot of maneuver.

The jumpmaster had put him out so that he ended up headed straight to the kennels. Frantically trying to steer away from them, he had to bring his knees up to his chest to clear the kennel fence. The dogs were jumping and trying to catch him before he got away. He later swore that there were marks from the dogs on the bottom of his boots. Lifting up his legs did let him clear, and he landed just a few feet outside the kennels.

Being a jumpmaster and telling people when to leave the plane is an art rather than a science. For some, I swear it was a Picasso painting with no science involved. After my first or second jump I switched to a precision round so that I had a bit more control and maneuverability even if you did hit a bit harder since it was smaller than a reserve. ‘Eh, you’ll probably hit the airport’ is not something you want to hear, and I swear it may have been the unofficial motto for the jumpmasters.

When they did a demo jump onto campus, not long before I joined I think, only a couple of the jumpers hit the large parade field that was the target. One jumper landed in the parking lot of an off-campus fraternity house, going over backwards onto a concrete parking bumper that shattered their helmet. Another took out the power line to an on-campus dorm with their jaw. Another landed on the other side of the dorm and I seem to remember a tree may have been involved.

But the most interesting miscalculation happened before I joined, and it not only put the jumper down well away from the airport but resulted in what I call The Gabriel Incident.

As I said, square chutes were just becoming a thing. The club had a member who bought one, which was brilliant white. Soon, his helmet, jump suit, and even boots I was told, were brilliant white. He made quite a sight when he jumped. It also almost got him badly hurt or worse.

Between the vagaries of jumpmasters, winds, and other delights, the club had a chase vehicle to go get those who landed away from the target. Not going to mention the year this was, but it was an early 70s station wagon in all it’s glory. And it was lucky it was available that day.

Let us just say that things went awry. Our intrepid jumper in white ended up well away from the airport, well out into the farmlands. By chance, he ended up landing near a small church of a non-traditional type. One person involved simply called it a ‘roller church’ but they were well into their service when the jumper flashed by their windows. Which apparently sent a number into paroxysms and cries of “Gabriel, Gabriel” filled the air.

At least until someone went outside, realized it was just a jumper, and decided that it had been done deliberately to mock them. Luckily, no torches or pitchforks were handy, but soon a small mob of people were after the jumper. So, here he is, chute wrapped up in his arms as he best can, running down a rural farm road with an angry mob intent of vengeance behind him.

The driver and others in the chase car came up on this scene and made a bold decision. They didn’t stop.

Instead, they got around the mob and the jumper, lowered the back window of the station wagon, and slowed down just enough he could push his chute into the back. Someone grabbed him and pulled him partly in, at which point the driver reportedly put the pedal to the metal and took off with the jumper’s legs still dangling out the back.

For obvious reasons, this remained a favorite story of the club. It also does make me wish that modern helmet-mounted video had been around then. It could be a tall tale, but I will say that I was warned to avoid going anywhere near a certain small church out in the country either on the ground or in the air, and they were serious when they said it.

No, I never did a nude jump. Had a couple of (female) members of the club taken part I probably would have. As it was, they had done one not long before I joined, and didn’t do another while I was a member.

My last jump was sadly not with the club. Another member and I went to another group to get some jumps in, and frankly it was a mistake. Let’s just say the people in that group were many things, including possibly sociopathic. Let’s just say that “George” of the magnificent mustache and I were glad to leave that day and may possibly have discussed tossing someone out of a plane sans parachute after finding out they had tossed animals out of the plane for fun. Or at least they claimed they had done so.

My memories are a bit fragmented (stupid lightning), but I can’t remember if a third person was with us or not. If not, it was George who came down almost a mile away because the jumpmaster mis-set the auto open on his reserve. It fired as he left the plane and went into freefall, leaving him no choice but to cut away his main and come down on reserve. No way to make the drop zone, there were winds, and his landing was reminiscent of the opening scenes of The Six Million Dollar Man. He sat up, waved to show he was okay, then went back down. Never would admit if he was out cold or not.

Me, I made my most spectacular landing yet. You can stall a round chute almost like a square, if you time things just right. That day, I did not get it right. Short version, I came to a picture-perfect stop — while still ten or more feet above a freshly plowed field. Think Wile E. Coyote frantically blowing up at a collapsed chute and that would have been me. I threw my back risers up, got out the word “Oh” and finished the phrase after I hit. When you bury yourself up to your knees in a freshly plowed field, there is no PLF. I went over on my back hard.

I was supposed to do a free-fall jump but between what had happened and what we had learned about our hosts, I was already not real eager. There were some issues repacking my chute, but I was assured all was good. In fact, it wasn’t until I was out on the jump step that the jumpmaster admitted all might not be good, but if there was an issue to just reach back ‘and beat the s*** out of it with your elbows.’ Think I made it back into the plane in less than half a second.

George and I were happy to leave that day, and we shared our adventure and what we had learned with the club and others. For me, it was right after that “adventure” that I got the opportunity to become a pilot. But, it was a choice of becoming a pilot or continuing to jump. So, I made the jump to flight.

It was fun, and I do miss it. Even with the changes, not sure how well my joints would take my doing another. An orthopedic surgeon who did some work on me at that time told me I had five more jumps in me, max. Don’t think I have that many in me now, and what I do have left I will save for an emergency.

I will say I was glad to miss the “cake” that happened later. Don’t know about new systems, but will simply say that you should not spend a lot of time trying to clear a malf because if you wait to less than a thousand feet to cut away and deploy your reserve, it will open and cover you like a shroud after you hit.

That said, part of me really would like to jump one of the modern squares. Maybe even do a tandem jump. Many jumpers, including the female members of the club at the time, referred to it as “The most fun you can have with your clothes on.” At the time I agreed, though today I would put flying and certain types of shooting in that category as well.

If you’ve got the itch, do it. Jumping out of planes is fun. If you don’t have the itch, well, shake your head at my adventures. Hope some of it made you laugh and smile.

Oh, one more thing. What do you do if a jumper freezes on the step? Some jumpmasters actually carried a baton to whack fingers. Or, as happened with a military jumper who wanted to try it our way, you have a pilot who just gives the jumpmaster a sadistic grin and puts the throttles full forward. Feet go out quick I’m told, and then the fingers peel off and off they go. And, occasionally, they did help someone back in. Depended on judgement and circumstances.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Pringles, Putin, And More

I’ve been wanting to do an update on the Coup That Hasn’t Ended, but life has been interesting. I particularly wanted to do a link-filled bit of info, but that day is not this day, even if I am not quite typing one handed anymore. Call it 1.2 handed, as I am limited as to how much and how I can use the right hand and arm.

If you are believing anything in corporate media, drop as much as you can to my fundraiser as I have a bridge for you! As I noted earlier, if you think the fat lady has sung, I’m not sure she’s even in the building yet, much less warming up. Even by Russian mores, this is the most bizarre coup in history. It makes the Kornilov affair seem straightforward. And I do recommend looking that over to better understand what is going on now.

Short version as I have to go to the doc this morning: as noted before there were silent partners in the Wagner revolt. For reasons I’m not completely sure of myself, I find myself loving the nickname “Pringles” for Prigozhin so get used to me calling him that. Pringles would not have launched his “revolt” if not for those silent backers, which included much more than some of the Russian generals. We are talking major players at the highest levels.

Kamil Galeev was the first to speculate that Vladimir may have been the lead silent backer, but I’m not sure even he believed it but was just raising a posibility. Is it possible? Yes. If true, it is the worst miscalculation by a major player since Kornilov. Vladimir’s internal and external reputation is damaged; the idea that the military senior leadership is corrupt and incompetent has found new and eager audiences (and is spreading rapidly) amongst the population; and, it has further eroded the concept of Russia as a major military power. None of which put Vladimir firmly in the driver’s seat.

The number of key players that were late showing back up to things is astounding, and telling. That some still haven’t really shown up is also telling (never count video footage of someone somewhere that can’t be verified). To say the Russian power structure is off balance is an understatement, and many have clearly lost a step or three in the dance.

All the more interesting is that Pringles and company, if they truly were guests of Luka, were almost immediately back in Moscow. If you want some fun, track Pringle’s favorite jet. Initial reports were that he and key associates were in Moscow concluding negotiations for the truce just a day after allegedly seeking asylum. Then there were talks of other talks. Today, even the BBC is reporting Luka as saying Pringles is in St. Petersburg.

Which tends to suggest that Vladimir was either one of the silent partners, or he’s so weak that he can’t do anything about it. I admit, given what all is going around in Russia, going after Pringles would tend to do Vladimir more harm than good immediately, as it would legitimize what Pringles has been pumping out non-stop about incompetence and corruption. Long term, that’s a different story.

Before I forget, there are rumors that the families of Wagner leaders and troops were used as hostages to stop the coup. If so, I’m surprised as the plan as seen was well developed, and clearly not developed on the fly at the last minute. Using families against “enemies of the state” goes back to times before Moscow was formed. Rape, torture, imprisonment, and death are typical for such. If any of the families were indeed left open, it says quite a few things about competence and cold-bloodedness.

The coup, if it was indeed such, is far from over. There are still a LOT of pieces missing. About the only thing I feel safe saying right now is that I will be surprised if Vladimir is still in power in a year. I will also note that the likely replacements (as currently standing) are not people we will enjoy. All of them, including jailed media darling(s) are even more ultranationalists and devoted to Russkiy Mir than Vladimir.

One can write a book on what is going on, but I’m not yet up to that. In fact, I have to run to the doctor’s as we may be changing wound treatment protocols given an area that has done funny post surgery. Between that and some issues the last few days that put me back on full pain protocol, and I’m glad to get this much up.

Oh, for those who don’t want to dig, Kornilov did indeed take care of some issues. The affair, however, ended up throwing open the gates to the Bolshevik Revolution.

More soon.