Archives for June 2012

So long, pencil sharpener

I bought some school supplies when I started med school 22 years ago (has it been that long?). Index cards (used a lot of them), pencils (ditto), and a $12 pencil sharpener. Which wouldn’t sharpen a pencil worth a darn. Kept it anyway.

It mangled pencils for all the kids homework, and as we’ve all gotten more digital (and have outgrown homework, mostly) we don’t use pencils much any more.

In a recent cleanout of a desk we’re going to do without, it was re-discovered and brought to the office. Where it sang its farewell song, a perfectly sharpened pencil the first time, then it died in my hands.

I suppose it’ll get replaced someday, though for now we will respect its contributions by marking its absence. Farewell.


Silly movie description in Apple store

I’ve watched the movie Red more times than I’m comfortable admitting. I hadn’t read the iTunes description before today, though, and had to laugh:

When his idyllic life is threatened by a high-tech assassin, former black- ops agent Frank Moses reassembles his old team in a last ditch effort to survive.

Whoever wrote this hadn’t seen the film. The protagonist is just putting in time in forced retirement, and was not flourishing. To put it mildly.

The IMDB description, by the way:

When his peaceful life is threatened by a high-tech assassin, former black-ops agent Frank Moses reassembles his old team in a last ditch effort to survive and uncover his assailants.

Now I see the problem…



Needed killin’ defense

SHINER, TX — Hearing his 5-year-old daughter crying from behind a barn, a father ran and discovered the unthinkable: A man molesting her. The father pulled the man off his daughter, authorities say, and started pummeling him to death with his fists.

via No charges for Shiner, Texas dad who killed daughter’s alleged attacker |

In the early 80’s (1980’s, funny people) your humble correspondent worked as an EMT in an ED full time while going to school and getting a Paramedic registration (there was no licensure for Paramedics in Texas then). I was the 7P-7A guy on the 2on, 2off, 3on, 2off, 2on, 3off schedule we worked, and yeah, I can still say it quickly. Weird what we remember.

We had a couple of Detectives who liked to hang out in the ED after hours, never asked why. Neither was interested in the nurses (rare) and there were probably more appealing places for them to be, but when they were on and not actually working they were in the ED. In retrospect I’m of the opinion they were voluntarily pulling security for us, as we had no dedicated hospital security. And they were armed, we liked that in an unarmed ED.

They were funny fellows, I learned a lot vicariously through them about how the world works (and had no reason to doubt them, as my ED experience was educational and either entertaining or horrifying daily); they had a saying I remember to this day. It was a joke, but still.

“Well, we’ll write it up as ‘Needed Killin’, which is a misdemeanor, and give you a ticket”.

I thought of those guys, and that statement, immediately on hearing about this assault/death. Assuming the story as told is correct the no-bill from the Grand Jury makes sense and is correct. The family of the victim already has enough punishment (assaulted child and grief from the death, plus a Grand Jury); I have no idea how the family of the deceased deals with this. I hope constructively.

Nobody else needs killin’ over this. But maybe a ticket would be in order, just because.


[This is Humor. If you don’t get it, don’t write.]

How large is a British watermelon?

You’ll probably regret asking.

A Las Vegas man who suffers from a rare condition that made his scrotum swell to 100 pounds is basking in the fame that his giant organ has brought him.

The watermelon-size scrotum Mr Warren carries between his legs has landed him on the Howard Stern Show and the Comedy Central program Tosh.0 and made him a local celebrity in his hometown.

via Wesley Warren Jr: Man with 100-pound scrotum REJECTS free $1m corrective surgery | Mail Online.

Emphasis added.

Here’s a family safe pic:

how large are British watermelons, again?

Okay, how large are British watermelons, anyway?

Comma to the Top: Deep down, you knew it was there.

Comma to the Top: Deep down, you knew it was there..


There is an “I” in team…


hahahaha. Perfect.

Airmail navigation stations of the 1930’s

I’m gifted with interesting friends.

One lives in my hometown of Odessa (yes, he escaped, and went back of his own volition), and he has an interesting hobby: searching for the remaining Airmail Navigation stations of the ’30’s.

His description:

I think you may have seen one of these before.

This is a station of the 1930 air mail route across Texas. It originally had a 90ft tower attached to the four steel stubs. There was a 36 inch rotation beacon on top. Between the building and the slab for the tower is a foundation for a fuel tank.  The arrow points in the direction of the next beacon. I’ve read they were originally spaced about ten miles apart. This one was as an aux landing field, not too far from Guadalupe peak.

Not being a pilot, I’d not seen these before. I expect there are several still visible from the air, though I’ve only located a few via Google earth.

106 today, … Odd way to spend my time off.

The photo indicates the compact genius of these stations:

Delaware Arrow

Delaware Arrow


I asked him if I could blog this, and while saying yes elaborated on the ‘why’ of this hobby:

I got interested in an odd way. I was looking up stuff on Pam Am 103, and when following a link found that there are stamp collectors who collect letters from crashed airmail planes.  These are salvaged by the PO, and forwarded with a note on the envelope. On a list of such envelopes, I found a Fokker tri-motor crash in the early 1930s near Guadalupe Peak. More link following showed information on the route, beacons, and airfields. Government subsidy of the air mail route used the legal precedent of the Light Houses and buoys provided for marine navigation. Beacons were at ten mile intervals, airfields at 30. Over time I plan to trace more of the route at far as Big Spring (which was apparently the main field for west texas).  Here is the route as traced so far:

google earth arrows

google earth arrows


Very neat.

I wouldn’t have wanted to be that airmail pilot, flying at night looking for the next 10 mile beacon, hoping it’s there…


Thanks to “An Old Friend” for allowing me to post these here.