Monthly archive for March2014

Situational awareness, planning and survival

Situational awareness, planning and survival

In any situation, being aware of potential dangers and having a plan for what to do if the potentials are realized is a good idea.  Typically the most dangerous situation any of us find ourselves in is driving or riding in a car.  But if you ask people what is the most dangerous thing they have done they will usually say flying in a plane.  So, because I care about you here is an article with 10 tips that could save your life in a plane crash.  Click on the link and go read the whole thing (or RTWT as we say in innernet lingo).  Or if you don’t want to I’ll give you the best three out of 10.

  • You’ve only got 90 seconds to get out.  Here’s the scenario – the plane’s crashed and your still in one piece.  Good.  You’ve survived the crash and if you don’t want to die in a fire then you’ve got 90 seconds before smoke and/or fire makes it impossible for you to escape.  Forget your luggage, haul ass to the nearest exit.  And to that end…
  • Remember the 5 row rule.  If at all possible never sit farther than 5 rows from the exit.  When you buy your ticket, if the airline allows you to choose your seat pay attention to where the exits are on the diagram and get within 5 rows of one.  If flying on a “cattle call” airline (i.e. Southwest) you may wish to consider paying the extra $20 or so for guranteed early check in.  This will usually get you close enough to the front of the boarding line so that you can get within 5 rows of an exit,  Personally I always try to sit in an exit row, as I am willing to help others out in exchange for being right there at the exit.  Also I feel better knowing that my wife will be the first one out the door.  Bonus – exit rows are usually a few inches wider and so more legroom.
  • Overcome the “normalcy bias” by having an action plan:  Look around and imagine what you will do if sh*t gets real.  Know where the exit is and have a plan for how you will make it to the exit if you can’t see because of darkness or smoke.  Be ready to take immediate action and don’t expect much help from the flight crew, chances are they will be in as bad or worse shape than you.  Also you are less likley to panic if you have a plan and execute it.

Seven more good tips at the link.  So happy flying!  In the event of a crash you will probably be killed instantly anyway (just kidding!).  But seriously, according to an NTSB Report, from 1983 to 2000 the survival rate of crashes was 95.7%.  Remember, you survive your daily commute so you can survive a plane ride as well!

Only for moment and the moment’s gone..

Only for  moment and the moment’s gone..

The Dogwood is in bloom…click on the image to view larger.



in a few days these will be gone…until next year…unless?



Take nothing for granted.  Each moment shall pass, never to be revisited.  Give thanks now for all things as they are expressions of the Glory of God.


Truth is…peeing in the pool won’t kill you

Truth is…peeing in the pool won’t kill you

In depth analysis here: How Much Pee in a Pool Would Kill You?

Pool Pee warning

I have to blog about this

I have to blog about this

Any story headlined “The Truth About…” in this case “The Truth About The Most Interesting Man In The World” via Business Insider.  By now everyone must be familiar with the character from the Dos Equis beer commercials.  If you have been in hibernation or something and are not here’s what I’m talking about:

The actor’s name is Jonathan Goldsmith and he’s been acting for 40 years and if you check IMDB you see along list of credits.  According to him there is one most intersting man in the world, but it’s not him.  After reading that article I guess that is the truth about him – he is an interesting man but not the MOST interesting man.

Since we are on the subject of guitarists

Since we are on the subject of guitarists

As you know I think that Steve Howe is one of the best rock guitarists of all time.  Seems I never shut up about it.  Notice I sad ONE OF.  There are other greats as well and don’t pretend there aren’t.  Anyhoo… if you are a fan of Jimmy Page (who isn’t?), The Edge (of course) and Jack White (who?) you will want to watch this video which I came across at Ace of Spades HQ.  It’s a documentary featuring Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White and it’s called It Might Get Loud.  You have to settle for a link because embedding is disabled for this video. So you get an introduction to Jack White instead:


Pretty Crazy.  Also – Go Read Ace.

Another music post? Yes. Yes I think I will…

Another music post? Yes. Yes I think I will…

…write another music post with the sublject this time being Yes.  The English rock band YES, that is.  Founded in the 1970’s, they have undergone several incarnations and are still active today with most of the original members.  When I first heard of them they were regarded somewhat as a “stoners” band since in those days top 40 am radio still ruled and their music was definitely not top 40.  It was a little on the psychedelic side, maybe and so it was assumed you had to be stoned to appreciate it.  I will admit that I did appreciate it a time or two in that condition (including one out-of-body experience), but I love it just as much today and I haven’t been stoned in decades.  They did have a song make the charts in 1972, which was “Roundabout”.  For many of you that may be the only YES song you have ever heard.  Anyway…this music is, as they say, an acquired taste; which I guess means not everyone likes it at first but if you give it a chance you will.  I liked it right from the first time I heard it, but at that time, I was already a big fan of the Moody Blues and Pink Floyd so it wasn’t much of a leap for me.  YES’ music had the same kind of almost mystical lyrical qualities but with a little more edge.  Below is the YouTube video of a live performance of the song “And You And I”.  The song was released in 1972 on their album “Close to the Edge” and did reach #42 on the Billboard Top 100 in that same year.  This particular liver performance was recorded in 2001.


Interesting intro by Jon Anderson who obviously has a poets heart.  One other side note: Steve Howe – awesome guitarist.  I have seen him play that same yellow Fender Sho Bud pedal steel guitar on several videos as early as 1976 (!).  I wonder how many miles that thing has logged?

In Vino Veritas

In Vino Veritas

This is another one of those Latin sayings that seems to have stuck around for a few thousand years.  It means “there is truth in wine” or “in wine there is truth” and dates to the first century A.D.  Guess there must be some truth in it – In Vino Veritas Veritas.  We know what it says, but what does it mean?

People are seldom completely open with one another.  That is not to say that all people are dishonest, it’s just that nearly everyone will put a facade between themselves and others except for those we are most intimate with.  It is just a question of degrees.  To be completely open is to be vulnerable and to be so with another person requires a great deal of trust that the other person will accept what they are presented with.  To present oneself openly and suffer rejection could be devastating and so we are afraid to risk it.  And as we are afraid to risk it, we hide behind a mask – sometimes just a little eyecovering, or for others it is a full suit of armor.  We thus protect ourselves as we move about our daily lives, only shedding our disguises in moments of complete and guaranteed safety.

As the wine is sipped, the mask is slipped

Most likely from the time that fermentation and then distillation were first discovered, it was learned that the consumption of alcohol lowered inhibitions.  And what is inhibition?  It is a fear – fear of looking stupid, fear of being rejected, fear of being disliked.  As the blood alocohol level rises we lose our fear, our fear of the truth.  We can say what we want, be who we want and let the chips fall where they may.  We sometimes regret it later, but while the wine is in charge it’s fine.


You can't handle the truth

The truth hurts


When we let our guard down we lose our fear of the truth.  We’re not afraid to tell it and we’re not afraid to hear it..  In Viking cultures drunkeness was mandatory at civic meetings because they believed it was impossible to lie while under the influence.  If only our current politics were so interesting.

Of all the fears that exist in the human condition, I find that the fear of the truth is the strangest.  Perhaps it’s a fear of being rejected by reality.  Or is it just a fear of Things As They Really Are?



Viking Rat invades Swedish Kitchen – is Dispatched to Valhalla

Viking Rat invades Swedish Kitchen – is Dispatched to Valhalla

According to this story  in the U.K. Daily Mail, a Swedish family was terrorized by a 15 inch (not including the tail) rat that made it’s home behind their dishwasher.  Their first clue that there was trouble afoot:  the cat refused to go into the kitchen.

Artist's depiction

Artist’s depiction


The pros were called in and got out the “industrial sized traps”.  The rat took the bait, the trap snapped, and the rat took off with the trap around his neck.  According to the homeowner, the rat crawled under a plant and “choked himself to death”.  So apparently a suicide.  I’m not sure if that will qualify the rodent for entry to Valhalla.

Never Mind The Dog…Beware The Volcano

Never Mind The Dog…Beware The Volcano

Most likely you know of Pompeii – the city buried by Mount Vesuvius’ eruption in 79 A.D.  It lay buried under volcanic ash for some 1500 years when it (and other sites in the vicinity) were rediscovered by construction in the late 16th Century.  Here is a wikipedia link if you would like to learn more.  The excavations have continued since the 16th Century but began in earnest in the mid 19th Century.  They continue to this day.  What I learned of today and found interesting is this:

"Cave Canem": Beware of Dog

“Cave Canem”: Beware of Dog


This was the decoration on the floor in the vestibule or entry to a house.  It seems they may have had burlgars in those days, too.  This was discovered at a site known as “The House of the Tragic Poet”, a tragic poet being a poet who writes tragic poetry or poetry in the vein of tragedy.
The actual name of the house’s owner is unknown.  Should my home be excavated 1500 or so years from now they will more likely find something like this:


The cat's not trustworthy, either

The cat’s not trustworthy, either


Canis Numquam Animum Curam Monte!

How Can an Airliner Just Disappear? (PartVI)

How Can an Airliner Just Disappear? (PartVI)

Today, Malaysian Authorities officially declared Flight 370 lost at sea with no possible survivors.  Based on close analysis of the attempted communications between the plane and satellites it was determined that the flight was on the southern of the two possible courses and this would have put it 1500 miles west of Australia in the Indian Ocean when it’s fuel would have been exhausted.  Since there are no possible landing sites, the lost at sea declaration was made.  The search continues though now as a recovery effort.  Conditions in the area are such that it is believed no one could survive for what has now been two weeks even if they had survived a crash or ditching.


Still unanswered are the questions of how or why this happened.  Authorites have all but ruled out an accident because of the circumstances surrounding how the plane “disappeared” from communications and radar, and because the flight’s behavior afterward indicated that the deed was done with purpose and some skill.  There is speculation as to who was responsible and as to whether one or both of the pilots may have been involved, though to what end is not known.

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