The stars at night are big and bright...

The stars at night are big and bright...
The stars at night are big and bright...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

"Our guys put this out with their tears"

Firefighters responded to the Hubig's Pie factory early Friday morning after flames were reported at the historic plant.

The massive fire broke out at the Marigny factory on Dauphine Street between Mandeville and Spain streets before dawn.

According to company officials, two or three Hubig Pie employees were in the building at the time the fire began. The fire is believed to have started in the center of the factory, in an area called the fry-room, and spread quickly throughout the building.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

At least 32 trucks and 95 firefighters were working the blaze. Some homes in the area were evacuated.

"This business fed our first responders after Katrina. Our guys put this out with their tears," said NOFD Chief Charles Parent.

The situation worsened just before 6 a.m. when the front portion of the building collapsed. At that point, the facility was a total loss.

"We have and will be a good neighbor, this is hard - we're trying to wrap our heads around it," said Hubig's Pies owner Andrew Ramsey. "We have 40 employees and we will rebuild."

Smoke from the burning remains of the plant drifted over the city as the sun came up. Crews remained on site, tending to hot spots.

Hubig's opened that plant in 1922. Though the Simon Hubig Pie Company was founded in Ft. Worth, Texas, at the onset of World War I, only the New Orleans operation remains in business.

The company is famous for its individually wrapped fried fruit pies, which are among the best-known treats in New Orleans.

After Hurricane Katrina, the company distributed thousands of pies to rescue workers and those in need of assistance.

"There aren't many things that say 'New Orleans' as much as a Hubig's pie," Councilwoman Stacy Head told WDSU.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Don't You Love Her Madly?

To my "friends" currently investing in Nevada's economy without me... enjoy. I love that town and wish I was there with ya! I've been practicing my tournament poker for the return of South40 Slim. Until we can get our schedules to click for a full team assault on Sin City, at least make sure you check out The Fremont Street Experience while you're there. It's a gotta do along with the Bellagio fountains. Both are absolutely free and there are still some decent eating deals downtown.

No man left behind... my ass!


Now another episode in the long running series of things I've somehow been the only person on the planet not to know about. NBC's Community. For some strange reason this show has slipped past my radar better than an B-2 over Baghdad. I just stumbled across it on DirecTv On Demand.

This show is greatness. Completely absurd characters, wicked sharp humor and the writers actually make Chevy Chase funny. Talk about giving 110%.

Now I have to order the DVD's on Amazon.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Aw, Puke!

How much does it cost to fix a Ford Powerstroke 6.0? 

Let's ask Mr. Owl...
1, 2, 3 Thousand... (I wish)

So far I've replaced the oil cooler along with the right head and gasket plus numerous degas bottles. After over $3K spent in repairs, I'm still getting coolant blown out. By process of elimination, I'm pretty sure it has to be the left head gasket. Actually, I'm praying it's just the gasket. Those heads ain't cheap!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Nice Catch!

NEW YORK - A quick-thinking New York City bus driver is being praised as a hero after catching a 7-year-old girl who fell out of a third-floor window in Brooklyn.

Saleema McCree told WCBS-TV that her daughter Keyla is autistic and was supposed to be asleep in her bedroom at the time of the incident. But she apparently slipped out of the window and climbed onto the family's newly-installed air conditioner. Witnesses at the scene said she started dancing on top of the unit before falling.

The episode was caught on video.

"I heard somebody banging on the door, stating that my daughter was outside on the air conditioner, but I had no idea what was going on because I had my son," McCree said.

Steven St. Bernard was arriving home from work moments before Keyla fell.

"Basically she was dancing and I just - I was just praying that I would get there and that if she [fell] that I would catch her," he told WCBS.

"She was shocked, because she moaned a little bit," St. Bernard later told 1010 WINS.

The girl was transported to Coney Island Hospital, but suffered no major injuries. St. Bernard suffered a torn tendon in his hand.

"He has a heart, a very good heart -- kids, adults, anybody -- he would do anything for anybody," neighbor Jessica Aleman said of St. Bernard.

Police spoke with the girl's parents but determined that no charges would be filed in the incident.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Laker Fans Stone Steve Nash

Keystone Light? You get the best small man in the NBA and you give him a 'Stone?

Gotta Love Those Israelis

Where does she keep a spare clip?

Some internet users were perplexed as to why the woman in the photo would be at the beach with a rifle- which does not appear to have a magazine loaded - but not in her uniform.

But other users were quick to point out there could have been practical reasons for the solider to take the weapon to the beach.

Under Israeli military regulations, if members take their weapon out from their military base they must keep them near at all times.

Punishments for losing or misplacing a weapon can include time in a military prison.

One user on Facebook wrote: 'An explanation for this photo (I served in the IDF): the girl probably went to beach right after being at the base and serves in a unit that requires her to carry a weapon (not necessarily a combat role), she didn't want to go through the paperwork and permission required to leave the gun at armory.

'Outside of the base we're required to either lock our weapons or have them on us. You can clearly see what she chose.'

Another user wrote: 'The photo is taken on the beach in Tel Aviv, and it is commonplace to see such sights during the summer.'

Israel's compulsory military service means that almost the entire female population must spend two years in the military after reaching 18.

Women make up almost one-third of the force, and 50 per cent of its officers, making the Isreale Defence Forces one of the most gender-equal units in the world.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Interesting Fact I Just Learned Watching Andrew Zimmern

The average bull penis weighs 2.7 pounds. 
That's almost 6 packages of Oscar Mayer all beef bologna.

Not sure I needed to know that.


KTXD-TV 47, a former East Texas religious/infomercial/shopping channel has recently changed formats and swapped hawking cheap jewelry and personally autographed prayer towels for a classic TV network lineup. MeTV (Memorable Entertainment Television Network) specializes in classic TV blockbusters like Bonanza, Gunsmoke, The Big Valley, Hawaii Five-0, The Rockford Files, and one of my personal favorites... Cannon.

It's not only a time warp watching the same shows you watched as a kid, just seeing the future big time stars playing bit parts is worth the price of admission. And not surprisingly, the well written shows like Cannon and Rockford Files hold up long after primetime has passed them by.

MeTV also features classic comedies like Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Get Smart and Batman.

So if you were born before 1965 or have an interest in video anthropology, check out MeTV KTXD 47.

There was actually some good stuff on TV way back when...

That's what's known as The $2 Rockford Special. The $2 being the roll of nickles he had in his fist...

Rider On The Storm

First off let me just say if you're going to steal, steal from the best. Huge h/t to the greatness that is Bag of Nothing. He mentioned a story about a Marine pilot that successfully ejected in the middle of a thunderstorm. Turns out, that's kind of a big freakin' deal.

After a bit of research, I came up with this from Damn Interesting:

In the summer of 1959, a pair of F-8 Crusader combat jets were on a routine flight to Beaufort, North Carolina with no particular designs on making history. The late afternoon sunlight glinted from the silver and orange fuselages as the US Marine Corps pilots flew high above the Carolina coast at near the speed of sound. The lead jet was piloted by 39-year-old Lt Col William Rankin, a veteran of both World War 2 and the Korean War. He was accompanied by his wingman, Lt Herbert Nolan. The pilots were cruising at 47,000 feet to stay above a large, surly-looking column of cumulonimbus cloud which was amassing about a half mile below them, threatening to moisten the officers upon their arrival at the air field.

Mere minutes before they were scheduled to begin their descent towards Beaufort, William Rankin heard a decreasingly reassuring series of grinding sounds coming from his aircraft’s engine. The airframe shuddered, and most of the indicator needles on his array of cockpit instruments flopped into their fluorescent orange “something is horribly wrong” regions. The engine had stopped cold. As the unpowered aircraft dipped earthward, Lt Col Rankin switched on his Crusader’s emergency generator to electrify his radio. “Power failure,” Rankin transmitted matter-of-factly to Nolan. “May have to eject.”

Unable to restart his engine, and struggling to keep his craft from entering a near-supersonic nose dive, Rankin grasped the two emergency eject handles. He was mindful of his extreme altitude, and of the serious discomfort that would accompany the sudden decompression of an ejection; but although he lacked a pressure suit, he knew that his oxygen mask should keep him breathing in the rarefied atmosphere nine miles up. He was also wary of the ominous gray soup of a storm that lurked below; but having previously experienced a bail out amidst enemy fire in Korea, a bit of inclement weather didn’t seem all that off-putting. At approximately 6:00 pm, Lt Col Rankin concluded that his aircraft was unrecoverable and pulled hard on his eject handles.

He was mindful of his extreme altitude, and of the serious discomfort that would accompany the sudden decompression of an ejection; but although he lacked a pressure suit, he knew that his oxygen mask should keep him breathing in the rarefied atmosphere nine miles up. He was also wary of the ominous gray soup of a storm that lurked below; but having previously experienced a bail out amidst enemy fire in Korea, a bit of inclement weather didn’t seem all that off-putting. Bill Rankin had spent a fair amount of time skydiving in his career—both premeditated and otherwise—but this particular dive would be unlike any that he or any living person had experienced before.

As Rankin plunged toward the earth, licks of lightning darted through the massive, writhing storm cloud below him. Rankin had little attention to spare, however, given the disconcerting circumstances. The extreme cold in the upper atmosphere chilled his extremities, and the sudden change in air pressure had caused a vigorous nosebleed and an agonizing swelling in his abdomen. The discomfort was so extreme that he wondered whether the decompression effects would kill him before he reached the ground.

As the wind roared in his ears, he gasped up oxygen from his emergency breathing apparatus while resisting the urge to pull his parachute’s rip cord; its built-in barometer was designed to auto-deploy the parachute at a safe breathing altitude, and his supply of emergency oxygen was limited. Opening the chute early would prolong his descent and might result in death due to asphyxiation or hypothermia. Under normal circumstances one would expect about three and a half minutes of free-fall to reach the breathable altitude of 10,000 feet. The circumstances, however, were not normal.

After falling for a mere 10 seconds, Bill Rankin penetrated the top of the anvil-shaped storm. The dense gray cloud smothered out the summer sun, and the temperature dropped rapidly. In less than a minute the extreme cold and wind began to inflict Rankin’s extremities with frostbite; particularly his gloveless left hand. The wind was a cacophony inside his flight helmet. Freezing, injured, and unable to see more than a few feet in the murky cloud, the Lieutenant Colonel mustered all of his will to keep his hand far from the rip cord.

After falling through damp darkness for an interminable time, Rankin began to grow concerned that the automatic switch on his parachute had malfunctioned. He felt certain that he had been descending for several minutes, though he was aware that one’s sense of time is a fickle thing under such distracting circumstances. He fingered the rip cord anxiously, wondering whether to give it a yank. He’d lost all feeling in his left hand, and his other limbs weren’t faring much better. It was then that he felt a sharp and familiar upward tug on his harness–his parachute had deployed. It was too dark to see the chute’s canopy above him, but he tugged on the risers and concluded that it had indeed inflated properly. This was a welcome reprieve from the wet-and-windy free-fall.

Unfortunately for the impaired pilot, he was nowhere near the 10,000 foot altitude he expected. Strong updrafts in the cell had decreased his terminal velocity substantially, and the volatile storm had triggered his barometric parachute switch prematurely. Bill Rankin was still far from the earth, and he was now dangling helplessly in the belly of an oblivious monstrosity.

“I’d see lightning,” Rankin would later muse, “Boy, do I remember that lightning. I never exactly heard the thunder; I felt it.” Amidst the electrical spectacle, the storm’s capricious winds pressed Rankin downward until he encountered the powerful updrafts—the same updrafts that keep hailstones aloft as they accumulate ice–which dragged him and his chute thousands of feet back up into the storm. This dangerous effect is familiar to paragliding enthusiasts, who unaffectionately refer to it as cloud suck. At the apex Rankin caught up with his parachute, causing it to drape over him like a wet blanket and stir worries that he would become entangled with it and drop from the sky at a truly terminal velocity. Again he fell, and again the updrafts yanked him skyward in the darkness. He lost count of how many times this up-and-down cycle repeated. “At one point I got seasick and heaved,” he once retold.

At times the air was so saturated with suspended water that an intake of breath caused him to sputter and choke. He began to worry about the very strange—but very real–possibility of drowning in the sky. He began to feel his body being peppered by hailstones that were germinating in the pregnant storm cell, adding yet another concern: that the icy shrapnel might shred his fragile silk canopy.

Lt Col Rankin was uncertain how long he had been absorbing abuse when he began to notice that the violence of his undulations was ebbing. He was also beginning to regain some sensation in his numb limbs, indicating that temperatures were warming. And the rain—which had previously been splashing him from every conceivable direction—was now only falling from above.

Moments later the moist Marine emerged from the underside of the cumulonimbus cloud amidst a warm summer rain. Below was a flat expanse of North Carolina backcountry, with no immediate signs of civilization. But Rankin’s parachute was still functional, and he was just a few hundred feet from the ground, so all seemed relatively well. But the storm had one last parting gift. As Rankin neared the ground a sudden gust of wind whisked him into a thicket. Helpless, he was pushed into the branches of a tree where his parachute became ensnared, and his momentum caused him to plow headfirst into the trunk. Fortunately his flight helmet kept his brain box from taking any serious damage.

Bill Rankin removed himself from the troublesome tree and assessed his situation. The time was 6:40 pm. Bill’s brutalized body had spent around forty minutes bobbing around the area of atmosphere which mountaineers refer to unfondly as the Death Zone. Applying his Marine training, Rankin started walking in a search pattern until he located a backroad. He stood at the roadside and attempted to flag down the automobiles that occasionally passed, but it took some time to find a passerby bold enough to brake for a soggy, bleeding, bruised, frost-bitten, and vomit-encrusted pilot. Finally an obliging stranger stopped and drove Rankin back to a country store in the nearby town of Ahoskie, NC where he used the phone to summon an ambulance. While he awaited its arrival he took the luxury of slumping to the floor for some much-needed rest.

In the aftermath of his ordeal Lt Col William Rankin spent several weeks recovering in the hospital. His injuries were surprisingly minor, however, consisting of superficial frostbite and a touch of decompression shock. He eventually returned to duty, and the following year he chronicled his perilous adventures in a now out-of-print book entitled The Man Who Rode the Thunder.

No human before or since Bill Rankin is known to have parachuted through a cumulonimbus tower and lived to tell about it. Lt Col William Henry Rankin passed away on 06 July 2009, almost exactly 50 years after his harrowing and history-making ride on the storm.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Monkey Wards Was Never Like This

Been looking for the ultimate Swiss Army knife, a flying radio controlled shark or lawn gnomes with M-16's? Maybe you need an AK-47 with attached chain saw for that impending zombie apocalypse. 

Then is for you. It's a little bit of Spencer's Gifts, The Sharper Image, Neiman-Marcus and Google all rolled into one.

Personally, I'm saving up for my own Barbecue boat.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Tip O' The Hat: Macy's 4th Fireworks Spectacular

This was the only 4th of July fireworks display I watched, but it was also the only one with Regis hosting. There were 2 others in Houston and Dallas that were on, but with no Regis, what's the point?

I was particularly impressed during the Armed Forces portion of the show when they included The United States Coast Guard anthem. Not many people have ever heard Semper Paratus, even fewer know the lyrics.
(Not from the show)
I have that song embedded within my DNA in Bass Cleft. 
Senior Chief Musician King would be proud. He expected nothing less than perfection.

"The World's Largest Non-Nuclear Coast Guard Marching Band"
Circa 1978

Future so bright, I had to wear shades...

It wasn't all cold sodas and air conditioned bandhalls in Oscar (Honors) Company. We had to PT side by side with these guys:

... but to prove us Tweeters weren't pussies we had to do TWICE the pushups of the Spinners. 

I actually played this same gig in 1978:

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Josh Hamilton Fan Club

3 things (besides the guy getting his jaw dislocated) stand out to me in this pic.

First the girl in the first row is oblivious to what is happening. There is a butterfly over the visiting dugout.

Two rows up, the baby is reaching for the foul bat while every adult around her is ducking for cover.

There's a tie for 3rd between the blonde chick scraping the very last remnants of her nacho sauce from the bottom of the box (if there was a Baseball God, she would have been the target) and the guy in the black shirt one row up wishing she would have been the target.

That's the way baseball go.