Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Nuclear Power Plant Troubles

It should be fairly obvious that while serving in Uncle Sam's Navy, I did my sea time aboard submarines. Yes, I went to sea on vessels which were designed to SINK ON PURPOSE.

What may not be obvious is this: I was a nuclear power plant operator, referred to in Navy jargon as a "nuke".

I'm not going to downplay the events in Japan. Things are not good. The plants were capable of withstanding the earthquakes, and were automatically shutdown as designed. The problems were created when the resultant tsunami disabled the backup electrical systems which are used to keep the coolant pumps running. Even after shutdown, a reactor core will continue to generate an immense quantity of heat for many days, or until it has been purposely cooled down. For the plants in Japan, with no electrical power available, there was no way to remove the heat, which caused a bad situation to get infinitely worse.

However, none of the explosions were a result of the reactor cores "blowing up". The enriched uranium used in nuclear fuel is not capable of exploding. The explosions were the result of hydrogen which built up in the containment buildings following the venting of built up water pressure into the structures.

Of course, this event has permitted the anti-nuke crowd to fan the flames of hysteria, enabled by an all to willing media.

For a better explanation: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/fear-the-media-meltdown-not-the-nuclear-one/

Sunday, March 13, 2011

One of the Benefits of being a Master Chief...

Was the ability to speak what was on my mind with little fear of repercussion.

To wit:

A young Navy Officer was in a terrible car accident, but due to the heroics of the hospital staff the only permanent injury was the loss of one ear.

Since he wasn't physically impaired he remained in the military and eventually became an Admiral. However, during his career he was always sensitive about his appearance.

One day the Admiral was interviewing three Master Chiefs for the Command Master Chief position.

The first Master Chief was a Surface Navy type and it was a great interview. At the end of the interview the Admiral asked him, "Do you notice anything different about me?"

The Master Chief answered, "Why yes. I couldn't help but notice you are missing your starboard ear, so I need to know whether this impacts your hearing on that side."

The Admiral got very angry at this lack of tact and threw him out of his office.

The next candidate, a Seabee Master Chief, when asked this same question, answered, "Well yes, you seem to be short one ear."

The Admiral threw him out also.

The third interview was with a Submarine Master Chief. He was articulate, extremely sharp, and seemed to know more than the other two Master Chiefs put together. The Admiral wanted this guy, but went ahead with the same question.

"Do you notice anything different about me?"

To his surprise the Submarine Master Chief said, "Yes. You wear contact lenses."

The Admiral was impressed and thought to himself, what an incredibly tactful Master Chief. "And how do you know that?" the Admiral asked.

The Submarine Master Chief replied, "Well, it's pretty hard to wear glasses with only one fuckin' ear."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

RIP: Lance Corporal Tasker and Theo

In the rush to keep up with the latest celebrity foibles, some of you may have missed this story.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

No Bad Color on a Good Horse

Whilst perusing Dreamhorse.com, this fella caught my eye.

"Kenny" is coming five this year, is green broke, and has been ridden primarily on trails. He's well bred, with cowhorse on the sire's side, and running Paints on the Dam's side. The Cowboy-in-Law tells us that Doc O'Lena and Peppy San descendents are know for their speed, when asked, and for the ability to turn it off, when asked, which makes them ideal cutting horses. The owner feels that he has the potential to be an "all around" horse, and that he is willing to do what is asked of him. That's a trait I find appealing in a horse. Smokey, for all his quirks, has always been willing to do what is asked of him, even if he's not necessarily good at it, like cow work.

The owner needs to pair down to two horses, feels that he is the one most likely to sell, and is more concerned with finding him the right home than whether she makes a buck off him. She stated his biggest vice is that when he gets scared he spin and try to get away. Sounds like a certain Buckskin horse I know, so I don't find that too bothersome.

She's also willing to consider a short term care lease, so that I can be certain that he is the horse for me. I find that appealing, and a sign of honesty. I'm not a horse trader, and just as Smokey will live to the end of his days as "my horse", I'm looking for a horse to keep for the long haul. Conceivably, I could be riding "Kenny" until I'm in my 60's. She also wants to see the place he will be kept before letting him go.

This picture is from last year:

I feel a trip to Sequim coming on.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

WAHSET Meet #1

We trekked down to Ridgefield, WA late last week for our first ever Washington State High School Equestrian Team meet, at the Clark County Fairgrounds. This event comprises six high school teams, and well over one hundred riders. Riders participate in 5 individual events, and 5 team events, of their choice.

For the Thursday afternoon drive down, Ma Nature decided to bless us with a rare snow. As I posted on the FB, towing a horse trailer in a snowstorm was not on my bucket list. We encountered near white out conditions on two occasions. I didn't need to change my skivvies afterward, but there was a distinct crease in the drivers seat of the Excursion. Around milepost 86 on the five traffic slowed to a crawl. "Great", thought I, "we'll never get there." At milepost 78, the cause of the slowdown revealed itself. A big rig with it's trailer perpendicular across the road, front tires of the cab hanging over the embankment. I'm certain that driver needed to change his britches.

We were also blessed with a DAMN COLD weekend. We left the hotel early Friday morning, arriving at the the barn around 6am. The temperature peaked at around 32F that day.

Day 1 is chock full of events. DN3 participated in Showmanship, Stockseat, Huntseat, Barrel Racing, and Cattle Sorting. Her team finished Cattle Sorting at around 11:30 that evening. And the event was only half over.

This is the view that greeted us in the truck as we left:

Not as cold as a lot of places, I know, but after you've been out in it for 18 hours, layering notwithstanding, the bones are cold.

Day 2 consisted of Working Pairs, Canadian Flags, Figure 8, and Bi-Rangle. Working Pairs is a team event, 2 horses, 2 riders. They perform a pattern, set to music of their choice. Costumes are encouraged.

DN3 and her teammate SW choice "Kryptonite", by 3 Doors Down.

Appropriate costumes were donned:

On Sunday, the final day, temperature reached 37F. A heat wave, I tell you! The only event DN3 participated in that day was In Hand Obstacle Relay.

Despite the cold, it was a great weekend. DN3 had a wonderful time, never complained, and thanked us every step of the way. All the girls on her team are fabulous people. There was no bickering, and they all helped and cheered one another on.

Her placing were nothing to sneeze at either, if I may be permitted to brag on my child:

Showmanship - 1st
Stockseat - 5th
Huntseat - 2nd
Barrels - 25th (1.95 seconds separated her from 1st place)
Cattle Sorting - 18th
Working Pairs - 4th
Canadian Flags - 4th
Figure 8 - 27th
Bi-Rangle - 12th
In Hand Obstacle Relay - 4th.

Not a bad showing for her first time out, in my humble opinion.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What She Said.

Because I'm suffering from my first bout of the crud in years, and my mucous filled head is exerting too much pressure on my brain to write.