What is Chanukah?
Wednesday, December 25th, 2019 | Author:


Happy Chanukah!  This is a year that the lunar calendar (the basis for the ancient Jewish method of tracking dates) aligns more closely with the solar calendar and thus, Christmas and Chanukah occur at roughly the same time of year… If you want to read more about Chanukah than I’ve put together below, I would recommend this article from Rabbi Dov Fischer.


December 5, 2018

It’s my best writing for the Chanukah season…


December 12, 2007

In celebration of that famed Jewish holiday known as Chanukah, it’s important to share some facts about the real story behind the holiday… By the way, that’s “Chanukah” with a “cha” sound.  Not Hanukah with a “ha” pronunciation.  As my wife likes to say, you’ve got to spit a little when you pronounce Hebrew words.

Back to the subject… Chanukah is not considered a major holiday by most Jewish standards.  Remember, Jews seem to have holidays – i.e., “holy days”, every month.  While I don’t necessarily agree, the most important Jewish holidays focus on devotion to God…  Chanukah celebrates the Jewish revolt against the Greek Empire (actually the Seleucid “branch” of the Greek Empire) that was based in an area where modern-day Syria is located (do you see any irony here?).  This took place over 2,000 years ago, about 170 years before the birth of that famous Jewish carpenter/fisherman.


The Seleucid Emperor outlawed Jewish religious practices and actually converted the Temple of the famed Ten Commandments into a place for pagan worship (the current remnants of the Temple in Jerusalem are known as the “Western Wall”.  In later years, to “stick it to the Jews”, the Moslems built a mosque on top of the Jewish Temple).  Any Jew that disobeyed Emperor Antiochus’ order for pagan worship was put to death.


When a unit of Seleucid troops arrived to enforce the Emperor’s orders, a Jewish priest named Mattathias refused to betray the one God.   When one of the Jewish townspeople said that he was going to assimilate and start bowing down to idols (yes, even in the days of the Maccabees, there were pusillanimous leftist Jews), Mattathias killed the traitor, as well as the Seleucian troops.   Mattathias’s son Judah organized a small group of men who fled to the Judean hills.

Judah and his men trained in preparation for the inevitable Seleucid military retaliation. Over time, the ranks of the Jewish rebels grew, and against incredible odds Judah and his men were victorious in a number of battles against the highly trained, heavily armed Seleucid army (remember, the Seleucid army was spun off from the armies of Alexander the Great). Judah was a brilliant military strategist, utilizing what were at the time the unconventional military tactics of a guerilla warfare.


Little do people know that Mattathias, along with Judah and his followers went throughout the Judean lands preaching open resistance.  Any towns that had given in to the Seleucids were burnt to the ground.  Most importantly, as far as Chanukah is concerned, Judah and his men captured Jerusalem and rededicated the Temple for Jewish worship.  They thought they only had oil for the menorah for one night, but it lasted eight days (thus, the eight days of Chanukah).


As you can see, the story of the Maccabees is much better than the story of William Wallace as depicted in the movie Braveheart.   For those of you not aware, Maccabi is the Hebrew word for “Hammer”.  Mattathias and Judah were actually part of the Hasmoneans, but evidently people thought enough of Judah’s ass-kicking approach to warfare that they starting calling him “the hammer”.   Thus, we always refer to this small band of right wing Jews as the Maccabees.

Category: Politics  | One Comment
Aircraft Bone Yard in Tucson
Monday, December 02nd, 2019 | Author:


To demonstrate that there is actually strategic value in mothballing the old aircraft, the Air Force has gone to the bone yard to resurrect a B-52 that was moved to long-term storage back in 2008. It took a team at Davis-Monthan four months to prepare the 60 year-old bomber for flight after its decade-long storage in the Arizona desert.

A B-52 Stratofortress, nicknamed


July 2, 2019

It’s been awhile, but it appears that there have been some new additions to the Air Force Boneyard in Tucson.  The Navy, which retired the wings of the famous F-14 fighters a few years ago, has now started retiring the early models of the FA-18.

You can check out more at the Aviationist…


October 25, 2018

A YouTube video about the Bone Yard:


August 8, 2013

There’s a decent article at Jalopnik entitled “Why Aircraft Bone Yards Exist in the First Place



January 13, 2012

You’ve probably seen photos of the airplanes stored at Davis Monthan AFB in Tucson… A few nice aerial photos from Joe Knecht.


The first photo on the left (click the thumbnails for larger image) shows F-4, F-15, and F-14.  The middle photo shows B-52, while the photo at the right shows A-7 and some helicopters.

Many of these aircraft are on display at the nearby Pima Air & Space Museum.  I captured some photos in the posting here.

As you’ve probably seen in other growing cities, the urban sprawl has started to surround Davis Monthan.  You can drive from the Tucson Airport to parts north of the city on a major thoroughfare such as Kolb Rd, and get a chance to view the “ghost air wing” (click on the image below to go to Google Maps version).


Here’s another photo snapped from satellite (from GeoEye), as well as a shot of some C-130s on the ground during one of my drives…


Update Oct 4, 2010

I’ve discovered photographs of a Soviet version of the aircraft bone yard (much smaller scale).  You can check here at this photo-oriented web site.


Update Jan 9, 2009

I was back in Tucson for business and I stopped by the old stomping ground to capture a few more photos…  you can see me standing by the outer fence near the C-130s, as well as a close-up of one of the signs warning about the “active” dog teams.


Category: Engineering  | 3 Comments
Marriage Humor
Wednesday, October 30th, 2019 | Author:

These are some funny ones, courtesy of my buddy Joe K.


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Modern Humor
Tuesday, October 29th, 2019 | Author:

This is the type of humor that reflects the realities of the digital age…

Hat tip to Joe K.

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Communism, Capitalism… and Money
Friday, October 11th, 2019 | Author:

The latest with the NBA and China has focused a bright light on the tensions between Communism and Capitalism (always remember that the true tensions are between tyranny and anarchy).  It’s an interesting situation with all of the emerging American ‘woke’ corporations.  As the antics of the NBA clearly exhibit, the hypocrisy of virtue signaling is now becoming too obvious.

As Vladimir Lenin was famous for saying: “The Capitalists will sells us the rope in which to hang them”…  Or following the advice of the janitor at my elementary school: “Always follow the money trail”.


Sporting Goods Stores Sinking into Oblivion
Wednesday, October 09th, 2019 | Author:


An update on the ‘woke’ sporting goods store:

Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO Ed Stack admitted that his company lost $250 million after he decided not to sell guns to people under 21-years-old… Stack decided to take this route even though the shooter did not use the gun he purchased at Dick’s. He used the gun he bought at Sunrise Tactical Supply.   The company stopped selling guns at 125 locations. Stack has considered banning gun sales from all of the stores in the future.


May 12, 2018

Sporting Goods stores are already following the same “success” path as children’s toy stores into oblivion.  This decision by “Dick’s” management to engage in corporate virtue signaling will only accelerate their demise.

Sporting goods retailer “Dick’s” is losing access to several popular gun manufacturers’ products in a retaliatory strike, as the companies withdraw their business following a series of public moves by the popular store.

Dick’s made some news last month when they first pulled from their shelves, and then destroyed, what they characterized as “assault-style” guns in their inventory.

If your company has a political point of view and acts on it, that’s its right. But it’s also the right of the customer to go elsewhere. As this back and forth shakes out, we’ll see which ones wagered wisely and which didn’t.

Source: Gun Manufacturers Fire Back at Dick’s Sporting Goods, Halt Sales | Trending


March 30, 2018

Get woke, go broke… The results of Dick’s move to become an opponent to the 2nd Amendment:

Dick’s Sporting Goods’ bottom line took a very big hit after halting the sale of assault-style weapons in response to the Parkland school massacre. The policy change cost the nation’s largest sporting goods retailer about $150 million in lost sales, about 1.7 percent of annual revenue, Bloomberg News reported Friday.


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Cracked Bicycle Rims… and Derailleur… and Chain
Saturday, October 05th, 2019 | Author:


Let’s see.  I think I’m replacing my Cannondale R700 a piece at a time…  It was my rear rim in 2015, my front derailleur in 2018, and now in 2019, I snapped my chain while riding up a steep hill.   Attempting to walk 10 miles back home with my chainless bike would have taken quite a while.  Fortunately, I had my “training director” (my wife, Missy) drive out to pick me up along with my disabled bicycle.


August 18, 2018

I was riding up a hill at Englewood Reserve, and after shifting into what I thought was 10th gear, I pondered, “Wow, I must be getting old. This is more difficult than I remember”.  That’s when I looked down at my Shimano 105 front derailleur and discovered a broken spring.  I was actually in 20th gear going up the hill.

Oh well, another part to replace on my Cannondale (this model has 3 sprockets up front and 9 in back).  I suppose the one consolation is that I’m still a spry young man on my bike.


July 5, 2015

I’ve been noted to be pretty harsh on mechanical devices that I own (I used to break the frames of my motorcycles during my motocross days), but I never expected to have multiple cracks in the rear rim on my Cannondale bicycle.    These Mavic rims are not cheapies, but in the second photo below you can see one of six cracks in the holes for the spokes.

Fortunately, my trusty bicycle service center at Troy Family Bike Shop got me fixed up with new rims and a tuneup.

Mavic Rims

Cracks in Rim

Category: Engineering, Sports  | 2 Comments
Visit to New York Metropolitan Museum
Sunday, September 29th, 2019 | Author:

A fantastic collection of artifacts from around the world… One of the good reasons for visiting New York.

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Are Engineers Writing the Articles at Engineering Sites?
Monday, September 23rd, 2019 | Author:

As an engineer, one of the sites that I visit via my Feedly reader is Interesting Engineering.    It typically covers topics pertinent to the practice of mechanical, industrial, and electrical engineering.  Since engineers have been trained to focus on objectivity, we usually prefer reading articles from fellow engineers.   While I’ve enjoyed many of the articles at Interesting Engineering, I’ve recently noticed that many of the topics have started trending toward the presentation of political positions.  This is manifested by the nature of the content.  In particular, when the site publishes articles about climate theory and evolution, the writing comes off as very sophomoric and better suited for People magazine.

Before removing Interesting Engineering from my feeds, I decided to check out the credentials of one of the authors via LinkedIn… and this background provided ample explanation:

Degree in English Literature and Hispanic Studies with modules in Journalism Studies.

He appears to be a writer auditioning for a “persuasion” role at the Washington Post or New York Times.


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Is This Really the Left’s Position?
Wednesday, September 18th, 2019 | Author:

Every now and then it’s important to take a step back and examine the positions promoted by the politicians… Let’s see if we have this correct:

a. Many politicians on the Left promote that we abrogate the Constitution by insisting that we ignore one of the most basic requirements of our Federal Government — that is, maintaining a sovereign nation by protecting the border.  Instead, the Leftists treat the workers hired by the Government to protect the borders as hardened criminals.

b. These same politicians further insist that we ignore our Constitution by promoting the dissolution of certain rights explicitly articulated in the Bill of Rights, such as the 2nd Amendment.  The Leftists use every means available to manipulate the media and interstate commerce to eliminate the rights of law-abiding citizens.

c. Now some of the same Leftist politicians in California have continued the race towards Socialism.  For example, California has adopted State-wide price controls on apartment rentals.  Yes, the Government in California now tells citizens throughout the State the price that they can charge for renting their private property.

d. To take it one step further, Leftist politicians in Minnesota have passed a strict new law regulating the ability of landlords to screen potential tenants, such as researching their credit scores, criminal backgrounds, and eviction histories.  Yes, since Socialism believes that everyone is the same, property owners are forbidden from rejecting a potential tenant for having an insufficient credit score.

Does anyone else see this inexorable slide towards tyranny as a case of political party lunacy?

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