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Better Daze: “Slow down you move too fast…”

For at present we all tend to one mistake; we tend to make politics too important. We tend to forget how huge a part of a man’s life is the same under a Sultan and a Senate, under Nero or St. Louis. Daybreak is a never-ending glory, getting out of bed is a never-ending nuisance; food and friends will be welcomed; work and strangers must be accepted and endured; birds will go bedwards and children won’t, to the end of the last evening. — G.K. Chesterton, In Defense of Sanity

GTA, Thomas Fitzpatrick Edition. The greatest “Hold my beer and watch this” ever. At approximately 3 a.m. on September 30, 1956, Fitzpatrick, while intoxicated, stole a single-engine plane from the Teterboro School of Aeronautics at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey and flew without lights or radio before landing on St. Nicholas Avenue near 191st Street in front of a New York City bar where earlier he had been drinking and made an intoxicated barroom bet that he could travel from New Jersey to New York City in 15 minutes. The New York Times called the flight a “feat of aeronautics” and a “fine landing”. For his illegal flight, he was fined $100 after the plane’s owner refused to press charges.

On October 4, 1958 just before 1 a.m., Fitzpatrick, again intoxicated, stole another plane from the same airfield and landed on Amsterdam and 187th street in front of a Yeshiva University building after another bar patron disbelieved his first feat. For his second stolen flight, Judge John A. Mullen sentenced him to six months in prison, stating, “Had you been properly jolted then, it’s possible this would not have occurred a second time.”  Fitzpatrick said “it’s the lousy drink” that caused him to pull the stunt.

The Footprint of a Roman Toddler Has Been Preserved on this Tile for 2000 Years

Mask – Robert Fulghum Now, most of the world goes about in masks because of the pandemic. When I was in town this week most people were masked, covering their faces from just below the eyes. In addition, because it’s summer, they were wearing sunglasses and some form of a hat. Not only did I not recognize people I know well, but I also had no access to the facial clues of expression needed to know their state of mind. The obligatory facial covering increases social distancing ten-fold. We are more isolated from one another than ever. That’s why I’ve started wearing a clear plastic face-shield and consciously approaching people with a mindset of empathy and goodwill. It’s not a mask. It’s Fulghum-in-a-fishbowl. And I’ve noticed an immediate change in the quality of my encounters with people, who are eager to connect with an affable and transparent old guy who smiles at them – because that’s the best he can offer in the situation we are all in. (And, yes, I wear the red rubber nose – to make my intentions clear.)

Bomber Aircraft Low Passes. Bomber Pilots Do Them Too. “Royal Australian Air Force English Electric A84 Canberra bomber drops to within 25 feet.” [HT: BroKen]

Furrytail Boss Cat Bed, Elevated Cat Chair

The Flying Train depicts a ride on a suspended railway in Wuppertal, Germany in 1902. The footage is almost as impressive as the feat of engineering it captures. According to the MoMA, the footage was shot on Biograph’s proprietary 68mm stock which offers stunning visual clarity and quality, especially compared to the more standard 35mm or 16mm stocks of the time. The Wuppertaler Schwebebahn (Wuppertal Suspension Railway) is a suspension railway in Wuppertal, Germany. Designed by Eugen Langen, it was built between 1897 and 1903 with the first track opening in 1901. The Schwebebahn is still in use today, moving some 25 million passengers annually as of 2008. It runs along a route of 13.3 kilometres (8.3 mi).

Finding North America’s lost medieval city A thousand years ago, huge pyramids and earthen mounds stood where East St. Louis sprawls today in Southern Illinois. This majestic urban architecture towered over the swampy Mississippi River floodplains, blotting out the region’s tiny villages. Beginning in the late 900s, word about the city spread throughout the southeast. Thousands of people visited for feasts and rituals, lured by the promise of a new kind of civilization. Many decided to stay. At the city’s apex in 1050, the population exploded to as many as 30,000 people. It was the largest pre-Columbian city in what became the United States, bigger than London or Paris at the time.

Did they even hang bears? What made the Vikings tick? The number of excavated Viking graves is in the low millions, and the only rule is that they’re all different. Men buried with weapons are common, but the occupant of a particularly well-furnished grave in Birka, who was buried seated with axe, sword, spears, bow and arrows, is now confirmed by DNA as female. Conversely men buried in women’s clothes and with feminine accessories have been found on several occasions, including one man buried with a full set of female jewelery near Andover.

Bobby Fischer playing 50 opponents simultaneously, 1964

The Story Behind the Eiffel Tower’s Forgotten Competitors – Even after it was finished, the Eiffel Tower’s life-span was originally set at 20 years. Scheduled to be demolished in 1909, the spire was saved by its utility as a radiotelegraph post as much as its popular acceptance. Nonetheless, it attracted the attention of those who would improve it. Engineer Charles Carron of Grenoble, Switzerland, suggested that a 40-foot-long, 20,000-pound, bullet-shaped container should be added to the tower’s silhouette. Once tourists filled the vessel’s 20 leather armchairs, it would plunge into an artificial lake shaped like a champagne glass. Later assessments by those with a firmer grasp of physics estimated the capsule would have hit the water at a bone-mulching 180 mph.

Marimo – The Extremely Rare Algae Balls That Make Great Low-Maintenance Pets

Brilliant Trump Puts Himself On All Postage Stamps, Forcing Democrats To Push For Abolishing USPS

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • BlogDog August 19, 2020, 11:08 AM

    Those tourist-fed, government-protected deer in the Nara Deer Park can be some aggressive sumbitches if they see you buy deer snacks from a vendor. No fear deer.

  • gwbnyc August 19, 2020, 11:50 AM

    great, entertaining post, thanks.

    Cahokia- cannibalism practiced.

    P-38, a friend’s father flew Lightnings and Mosquitos as camera ships, always swathed in as much clothing as he could manage to prevent burns in case of fire.

    Bobby Fischer- He was too good. There was no use in playing him. It wasn’t interesting. I was getting beaten, and it wasn’t clear to me why. It wasn’t like I made this mistake or that mistake. It was like I was being gradually outplayed, from the start. He wasn’t taking any time to think. The most depressing thing about it is that I wasn’t even getting out of the middle game to an endgame. I don’t ever remember an endgame. He honestly believes there is no one for him to play, no one worthy of him. I played him, and I can attest to that. It’s not interesting.

    …apt description of having the sum of intellect to recognize the walls were closing in³. ( far beyond mine)

  • tim August 19, 2020, 12:00 PM

    Not sure what would be sweeter, the cake or Emmy?

  • Phil in Englewood August 19, 2020, 12:15 PM

    I think that Trump stamp is a Forever stamp.

  • Dwight August 19, 2020, 12:28 PM

    I had not heard of Thomas Fitzpatrick’s antics until now, so thanks for passing that on. Until that, my favorite “Hold My Beer” moment involving a plane was Mathias Rust flying a plane from Helsinki to Moscow and landing it next to Red Square (1987 I believe). I got together with college friends around that time for a weekend of debauchery and we made Mathias an honorary member of our group. (The fallout of his stunt had several serious repercussions for many military senior officers for allowing him to do this.)

    Before that, my fave was the plane that crashed in Memorial Stadium after the Colts were humiliated by the Steelers in a 1976 playoff game. I remember seeing that on TV: just after the game was over, the feed cuts to a small plane crashed in the upper deck (with almost no comment from the announcers other than “Wait, what the…”), then the time slot for the game was over you had to wait for a day or two to find out exactly what happened. Unless you happened to be listening to the Colts station (with great commentary by Art Donovan): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrmYnXIMG4g

  • PA Cat August 19, 2020, 1:33 PM

    I suspect that Miss Olive is on the keyboard behind Gerard’s back sending off for that fancy Australian Boss Cat Bed. (They take PayPal Down Under, according to the website.)

    Speaking of cats and Aussies, “The most talented cat in the world lives in Australia.” Here’s Didga and her pet human (plenty of dogs in the video too):

  • ghostsniper August 19, 2020, 1:50 PM

    Some of the captions for the pix at that site: https://aviationhumor.net/bomber-aircraft-low-passes/ are not right. The pik above is not a B36, maybe a B25, but definately not a Peacemaker. The B36 was HUGE and was known as “6 turnin’ and 4 burnin'”, cause it had SIX engines with the props on the backside, right, they were pushers, and 4 auxiliary jet engines used during take off.

    But yeah, those low level strife deals are something else. Can make some folks lose control of their faculties. I seen 3 Tomcats come over at full throttle at treetop once and it was a highpoint for me. Barely heard em comin, had no idea the direction, and after they went over the gurgling, rasping engines were amazing. I could watch that shit everyday.

  • julie August 19, 2020, 2:23 PM

    Re. the marimo, we have some moss balls in our fish tank. They are great for maintaining the quality of the water, however I take issue with the claim that they don’t grow fast. Maybe so if they aren’t in a tank with fish (and thus an ample supply of nitrates), but ours need to be trimmed fairly regularly to keep from taking over. Even then, they regularly shed pieces that clog up the filters and must be removed. When exposed to sunlight, you can tell they are photosynthesizing because they develop air bubbles all around their surfaces and start to float. Very cool.

  • BroKen August 19, 2020, 2:46 PM

    The problem some are having with the low altitude bombers is the captions are above the pictures, not below them. The caption you used, Gerard, is not for that pic. It should be “Royal Australian Air Force English Electric A84 Canberra bomber drops to within 25 feet.”

    [Thanks Bro. Fixed.]

  • David L Guenther August 19, 2020, 4:31 PM

    Back in the day, used to do radar bomb scoring. This was late 70’s. The communicator after they finished their bomb runs, would ask for a “bubble check” and the aircrew would, if they had enough fuel, do a fly-by, usually about 50 or 75 ft over our heads.

    I’ve seen F-104 Starfighters flown by German pilots, F-4 Phantoms and F-111 Aardvarks from various air wings, Grippons and Drakkens from Sweden and a couple of times, F15’s and A-10’s when they first came on line. Like GS said, you wouldn’t hear them until they were right on top of you. It was quite a site to see.(swidt)

  • gwbnyc August 19, 2020, 4:49 PM
  • azlibertarian August 24, 2020, 10:51 AM

    So to start my little story here, I guess I should begin at the end.

    Flying a military airplane at low level can be both an unnecessary airshow stunt and a military necessity.

    Pre-stealth, it doesn’t take much of an imaginative mind to understand that the whole point of a military low-level flight is to sneak in on an enemy target unobserved by either eyeballs or radar. But even with stealth, what you might not know is that you have to arrive at the target on time. Should you arrive early or late, you might find yourself crossing the target right when somebody else is dropping something unpleasant, which would be bad.

    A typical flight might involve taking off from your home airbase, maybe refueling en route, then dropping down to a low-level route to mask your intentions. Egress would be the opposite….low level on the way out, then pop up to hit the tanker and get yourself home. Those routes would be designed to avoid any known enemy positions as well as to take advantage of any terrain that you might be able to hide behind. Those routes are not straight lines directly to your target. But as they say, your plan is always the first casualty of a war, and the enemy gets a vote.

    Given that you must arrive over your target on time, and that your plan will dissolve sometime after the gear comes up, how do you make that happen? Nowadays, there are all kinds of GPS receivers, fancy computers and other do-dads that give a pilot information to make sure he’s over the target at the right time. Back in the early 80’s when I was instructing in the T-38, when men were men, and the dinosaurs roamed the earth, no such computers existed…we flew with paper maps and a stopwatch. You had to do the math yourself. Not being complete dummies, we flew our low levels at 360 knots, primarily to make the math work out. There are 60 seconds in a minute, and 60 minutes in an hour, so 360 knots means that you’re covering a (nautical) mile every 10 seconds. If you were 20 seconds late at one of your enroute turn points, you had to speed up to arrive on time at your next turn point.

    “We’re late, Sluggo! How much do we add? C’mon, we’re going to be late! How much?” [I called all my students “Sluggo”]. If you were a degree or two off the heading for a leg, you might miss a turn point completely. How long do you go past your leg time before you turn and try to find your way back on your route? All these errors can add up, but you must always remember that you had better be over the target on time

    Navigating a high-speed jet at low altitude is a challenge. The world looks a whole lot differently at 1000’AGL (Above Ground Level) than it does at 5000’AGL. Drop down to 500′ and it looks different again. The lower you go, the fewer landmarks you can see, and of course, you’re zipping across the ground at a mile every ten seconds. The key to a good low-level was to find one that had turn points which had more than one identifiable feature.

    The other thing to keep in mind is that while we as a country are entrusting our military equipment to the cream of the crop (so we were told), these guys are also in their early-to-mid 20’s. They’ve sought out and competed for these positions where they can be at the tip-of-the-spear. We’ve all met them: If you put them in a high-performance car, they’re going to push the pedal all the way to the floor. They can’t help it….that’s just who they are. So it shouldn’t surprise that when you put them into a high performance jet that they might push the limits beyond what their published limits would allow.

    I was told a story, a long time ago, way back in the day, of a guy who flew a low-level route which had a leg that went out over the Atlantic off the Florida coast. He was to head out to the southeast for 5-6 minutes (there being no landmarks over the water, of course), and then turn back to the west-southwest to find a landmark along the coast. As the story goes, which I can neither confirm or deny, he thought that this was the perfect opportunity to go really low. While down there, he took a look in his mirrors to see that he was raising a 360knot rooster-tail.

    So the story goes. I didn’t do it, no one saw me, and you can’t prove anything.

    Nevermind. Forget I said anything.

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