Archive for July, 2005

First Published Story on a TTLB Top 30 Site

Saturday, July 30th, 2005

Slashdot published my story today titled 20k Down Can Get You Up Into Space. This is my first story featured on a site rated inside the top thirty of The TTLB Blogosphere Ecosystem. The Slashdot story is part of what I posted here on the The Land of Ozz earlier today titled Ethics, MSM, and Space Travel.

A Good Problem

Saturday, July 30th, 2005

Michele Malkin linked to the web site today and it appears to have caused quite a traffic jam for the Peenie Wallie host. The image below represents a problem that I would really enjoy troubleshooting.

Traffic Jam

I drop Michelle Malkin and other seasoned bloggers an email once in a while to give them a tip on something that I might have seen in the middle of the night while sitting up with my son Caden. I also track into some of the stories done by bigger bloggers when I feel I have a little more to add. I also add my favorite blogs to one of my blogrolls. I do all of this with the hopes that I might be able to someday move away from my standard 9-5 office job to something a little more flexible with less travel.

I am getting a little revenue from my ads. The income is not quite enough to cover the hosting fees and domain registrations just yet, but it won’t be long. I do not expect to make a living off of blogging or writing for that matter. I am way more of a geek than a writer. I do hope to get enough notoriety for helping others launch successful blogs and web sites that I can someday do training, seminars, web development, and site administration as a full-time job. I started making money with affiliates like Amazon Associates in the mid to late 90s way before the word “blog” became a household term. Putting affiliate relationships together with regularly updated content on blogs is a great recipe for Internet success. I may not be a seasoned veteran in the blogsphere, but I am catching on fast. I am a seasoned veteran on the Internet as I have been hosting and administering web sites since 1996.

I credit a large amount of my knowledge on blogging tricks to GreyHawk’s Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Blogging. That article on the Mudville Gazette is a great place to start if you want down and dirty how-to on blogging.

Thanks to Mark over at Tapscott’s Copy Desk for such kind words about me on his blog today. There’s much to be learned from this man and I encourage everyone to make their way over regularly to absorb some of his writing and research genius.

UPDATE: I just got into Peenie Wallie’s web site to see what Michelle Malkin was tracking to. It is a great story about a Marine and his family getting treated to a VERY nice meal by a stranger. The story is from my old stomping ground in the Wild West. Check out the story here. Oh, the site adminsitrator acknowledges the technical difficulties in a couple of updates to this posting. Take a look around while you are there and you will see that Peenie Wallie is well deserving of your and Michelle Malkin’s attention. I have added Peenie Wallie to my blogroll.

UPDATE: MrBig over at The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns gives a great follow-up to the root of this posting which is about the Marine and his family getting treated to a meal by a stranger.

Ethics, MSM, and Space Travel

Saturday, July 30th, 2005

Hopefully Virgin Galactic can get a truly non-bias journalist into space for the first time without a major disaster. CNN Journalist Miles O’Brien was working as the network’s space correspondent while his employer was working a secret backroom deal to get him a ride on a shuttle mission back in 2003. Now there’s a conflict of interest if I ever saw it. This was NASA’s second attempt to put an American journalist into space. The first attempt was halted by the Challenger disaster in 1986.

All of the ethical concerns of NASA sending a journalist into space should be over within the next three years since there will be plenty of space flight seats for those with the cash. Virgin Galactic plans to build commercial space craft that they claim will be ready for flight in 2008. All you need is a $20k down payment on the $200k price tag for a seat on one of the first commercial space flights already being booked by Virgin Galactic. The Virgin Galactic web site has a place to sign up here if you have the cash.

The Virgin Galactic web site says:

Virgin Galactic is a company established by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group to undertake the challenge of developing space tourism for everybody.

Virgin Galactic will own and operate privately built spaceships, modelled on the history-making SpaceShipOne craft. These spaceships will allow affordable sub-orbital space tourism for the first time in our history…

The grand entrance of SpaceShipOne to AirVenture was the opening act to the announcement of this new service. Virgin Group’s Branson and SpaceShipOne builder Burt Rutan to form The Spaceship Company that will build the new commercial spaceships. wrote on 7/27:

The announcement was made today at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) AirVenture gathering being held July 25-31 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The yearly event spotlights homebuilt aircraft, antiques, classics, warbirds, ultralights, rotorcraft—as well as the emerging commercial spaceflight business.

This news comes only a week after the story broke about CNN journalist Miles O’Brien who reports that he nearly missed a chance to be the first American journalist in space. O’Brien was reporting on NASA operations in 2003 when the Columbia shuttle broke up on reentry. The day of the disaster obviously hit home with him according to a July 22, 2005 The San Diego Union-Tribune article that said:

His wife showed up at the studio and cried when she saw him. O’Brien told her to go home. He didn’t need the distraction.

That was pretty insensitive to say the least.

Maximum Age for Drivers

Saturday, July 30th, 2005

I could not let this one go. I was listening to The Casey Bartholomew Show on my favorite talk radio station NewsRadio 94-3 WSC-FM on the way home Friday evening. The subject on The Casey Bartholomew Show was elderly drivers. Casey told of a 100 year old man who lost his driver’s license simply because the man turned 100 years old. I came into the segment a little late so I am not sure where this story took place. Casey Bartholomew is known for his radical opinions on the issues he really cares about. This subject was not immune to his radical opinions. One caller suggested recently that Casey could not possibly feel that strongly about some of these subjects and Casey’s response was that he really does have the opinions that he shares on the air.

On Friday Casey suggested that people should surrender their driver’s license at age 67. He believes that when drivers get to a certain age they become too much of a danger to the general public. Several callers weighed in and basically said they disagreed with the 67 year old age suggestion that Casey proposed. I am sure that Casey threw out a number that he felt would cause a stir and it worked. I caught myself wanting to set him straight. I even called in but was not put on the air because they ran out of time on that segment.

I believe that people should not be considered dangerous drivers just because of their age. Yes, most people reach a point in their lives usually at an older age where they should surrender their license. I do not believe that the magic age is 67 years old. I do not believe there is a magic age. I agree with the one caller who identified himself as a truck driver. He said that he is required to get a physical every so many years to maintain his license no matter what his age. The caller suggested this as an alternative to just yanking a person’s license simply due to age. I agree with the caller. He and Casey briefly talked about pilots having to get a physical. That informaiton on pilot physicals is a fact. Pilots much get a physical no matter what age they are with only a couple of exceptions related to some new sport pilot ratings. Casey’s response was basically that he would not fly with a older pilot of 67 or more years. If Casey had heard the Phil Hendrie Show a few weeks ago he would have realized that age should be the least of his worries when it comes to pilots. Phil Hendrie had a commercial pilot on his show who basically said that a pilot’s health was becoming less of a concern since the planes basically fly themselves. This particular pilot had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and saw no reason why he should loss his FAA Medical Certificate. One of the most notable symptoms of Parkinson’s is the loss of muscle control which I find a very good reason to get grounded. UH, I want my pilot to have muscle control even if the plan does fly on automatic most of the time.

I am a private pilot and have to get a physical every two years to maintain my pilot’s license. I recently renewed my FAA Second Class medical certificate. It was a good bit more of hassle this year due to a diagnosis of hypertension since my last physical. The FAA physical cost me $100 and then I had to spend about $100 more jumping though hoops to fill in requirements to get my current heart condition documented as a baseline for future FAA medical certificates. I was cleared relative to my health to fly up to an including commercial flights with no restrictions. I feel more confident in my health as a result. I only get the commercial medical certificate in the event I find myself out of a day job and have to go to flying for a living.

I will get back to the point of this posting. I have a hard time reading the mood of Casey Bartholomew sometimes. He has accused me of not listening very closely when responding to his topic in early May on the proposed increase in cigarette taxes. He claims that his “comments were dripping with sarcasm” when talking about giving the tax money to the schools. Maybe his comments today were dripping with sarcasm and I just missed it again. I hope so, because the idea of taking someone’s license simply due to age is a bad idea.

Maybe Casey did not take my call because he is afraid I will pull a Neal Boortz on him and fill his shoes after he commits professional suicide with his radical opinions. According to the FAQs on Neal’s web site, he got his start in talk radio by showing up at the station asking for a job shortly after the morning host committed suicide. The station managers of the first talk radio station in Atlanta had no clue that Neal would grow to four million listeners across America right from that same station 30 years later. I admit that I have never heard Neal on the radio, but I like everything I read about him. What is not to like? He has his own little private air force comprised of a Mooney Ovation2 and Super Decathlon. He is quoted on his bio page as saying, “There’s nothing like flying upside down to clear your mind … among other things.” Amen brother. A man after my own heart. I will get back to Neal Boortz later. Neal has written on a subject that Casey has a very radical opinion on.

I like Casey Bartholomew on most days. There are other days when he gets so far off base on one of his rants that I would rather turn off my radio, let down my windows, and listen to traffic noise. Who knows, maybe that is the desired affect that Casey wants to have on his listeners. Stay tuned for more on Casey’s rants. I promise it will be good.

SC Love Hate

Friday, July 29th, 2005

There are many things about South Carolina that I love and even more that I hate during this time of the year. I went out at about midnight to clean and cover my grill. It was still over 90 degrees outside. I forgot to mention in my Grill’n Time post about the Grilled Pizza that the grill was at about 110 degrees before I even started the fire. It was a good thing that I had a short stay in front of the grill cooking those pizzas.

The love for South Carolina comes from the sound of the crickets and tree frogs this time of year. It is one of the most beautiful sounds short of rain on a tin roof. I am not allowed to have a tin roof in m neighborhood, so I will have to settle for second best right now with the crickets and tree frogs.

Scout Jamboree Update

Thursday, July 28th, 2005

The Boy Scout Jamboree continued to experience difficulties in the wake of the accident that killed four Scout Leaders this week. President Bush was scheduled to attend the jamboree on Wednesday evening but had to cancel due to severe weather that cancelled all events for the evening at the jamboree. There is no word whether the President will try to attend the event later. The Boy Scouts have announced that they will proceed with the jamboree for the near 40,000 Scouts though next Wednesday as scheduled.

I pray that the families and friends of those who died will find peace and comfort in the days to come. I also pray for those kids who witnessed the deaths of these men. Watching someone die due to tragic circumstances is very emotional for a child even if it is not a friend or family member.

I know what it feels like to witness a tragic death at a young age. I witnessed the death of some of my school mates’ mother on the roadside when I was about twelve years old. She died in front of her husband and more than a dozen of her children when their pickup truck rolled over. Most of the children were riding in the back of the truck and suffered a variety of injuries when thrown across the yard where the wreck took place. My family and I were in one of the first vehicles on the scene of this wreck. I can remember my Dad and Grandfather helping to load the mother’s sheet covered body into the ambulance that day. It is an experience that I wish I never had, but it does help me appreciate life a little more today.

These Scouts must be feeling some of the similar gut wrenching emotions that I felt years ago. I pray that they will find peace and understanding in this situation.

You can read more on this story here and here.

Mike McConnell has found at least one disturbing response to this tradgedy and writes about it here.

NASA Grounds Shuttles

Thursday, July 28th, 2005

NASA reports trouble during he latest launch. Experts have determines that foam fell from the fuel tank during lift-off. This could pose a threat to the safety of future missions as it did to the Columbia Shuttle in 2003. The experts reviewing the tapes of this week’s Discovery launch said that they did not have any reason to believe the Discovery Shuttle itself was damaged during this launch.

Read more here.

Grilled Pizza

Thursday, July 28th, 2005

It sounds weird, but you have got to try it.

From Grill’n Time:

I have cooked my share of pizzas on numerous part-time jobs since back in high school, and I was a little skeptical going into this dinner. I was pleasantly surprised by the results. The dough is homemade and as good as any pizza dough I have ever eaten.

Grilled pizza cooked on a charcoal grill. You will love this if you like pizza at all. Check out more pictures and get the full scoop on how to prepare and serve this cool creation on the Grill’n Time blog.

Fallen Scout Leaders – Donations

Wednesday, July 27th, 2005

The story of the four Boy Scout Leaders who died from accidental electrocution is truly sad. Michelle Malkin provides great coverage as usual here. You can find information on where to send cards, letters, emails, and donations to the families of these Scout Leaders on the home page of the Western Alaska Council web site.