Wednesday, June 29, 2011



1. A silly millimeter longer.

2. A historic highway in the United States.

2. The number of kilometers a USSR prisoner had to live outside an urban center after released from prison.

3. Number of dalmatians in the Disney movie 101 Dalmatians.

4. The room number of a torture chamber in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.

5. The temperature (a.k.a. 38.3 Celsius) outside my bedroom window right now.

Monday, June 27, 2011

All I Want Is A Bottle Of Cranberry Juice!

© 2011 Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc

There is a scene in the movie The Hurt Locker (2008) where a soldier home from war stands in the middle of a supper market aisle and becomes overwhelmed by all the products. I know the feeling.

Last week cranberry juice was on my shopping list and when I reached the bottled juice aisle looking for a bottle of Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice I found what seemed like hundreds of bottles of Ocean Spray including Cranberry Juice Cocktail, Cranberry Juice Cocktail with Calcium, Cran-Grape, Cran-Pomegranate, Cran-Raspberry, Cran-Apple, Cran-Cherry,and Cran-Strawberry. There were also Diet and Light versions of each flavor and bottles of what Ocean Spray calls Juice Blends. In total there are 45 different types of Ocean Spray juices and all are put in bottles that are exactly like the one shown above.

After locating the plain old cranberry section, I ignored the cranberry juice that contained calcium and grabbed a bottle with the word Cranberry Juice Cocktail written across the front of it and put it in my shopping cart. The next day I pulled it out of my refrigerator, poured myself a glass, took a big sip and swallowed. It tasted wrong. It was too sweet and had a funny taste. I pulled the bottle back out of the refrigerator and looked at the label. Right there in big letter were the words Cranberry Juice Cocktail but next to it were also the words WITH A HINT OF LIME and right above the letters Cran in the word Cranberry, was a small yellow label with the word New! written in blue letters. And I missed them. I missed the extra words on the label because I was so overwhelmed and frustrated by all the choices that when I saw a bottle which had the words Cranberry Juice Cocktail written on the label I just grabbed it and put it in my cart.

This I do not blame Ocean Spray for as it was my own fault. I should have examined the bottle closer before I put it in my cart. If I had I would have also seen the words Cranberry Lime Juice Drink With Another Juice written in smaller letters across the bottom of the label. Now, I'm upset with Ocean Spray. What, their Cranberry Juice Cocktail is no longer just cranberry juice anymore? I looked at the ingredients listed on the CJC WITH LIME bottle and found; filtered water, cranberry juice from concentrate, cane or beet sugar, white grape juice from concentrate, lime juice from concentrate, natural flavors, and red grape concentrate for color. No wonder it tastes sweet and funny at the same time- it's the grape and lime juice. It also has those words I do not like to see on any food ingredients list, natural flavors. You can hide a lot behind those two words. Whenever I see them I wonder what the product tasted like before the natural flavors were added.

Today I bought another bottle of Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail, plain old cranberry juice this time but I made sure to read the ingredients before I left the store; filtered water, cranberry juice from concentrate and cane or beet sugar. No white grape juice from concentrate. No red grape concentrate for color. No natural flavors. I'm happy but I do wonder what is in their other juices and if you are wondering, too, don't go looking for the answer at the Ocean Spray website because the information isn't there. I know, I checked.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Big Blue Box

This last photo I took from the restaurant, The Prefect Landing*, at the airport. Notice anything in the far background? Yep, a new IKEA store. I know because the word IKEA is written in gigantic letters across the front of the store. See that sign atop the very tall pole to the left of the store? Well that thing stands 92 feet above the ground and each of its four sides is 52 feet long. The sign is so huge people complained about it when it first went up. I think they were complaining about the wrong thing. What about the size of the store? This photo was taken from 4 miles away!!!

I cannot wait for it to open.

* If you are ever visiting Denver try not to miss this restaurant, the food is excellent. After my meal I asked the waitress to tell the chef his food was a joy to eat.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Aluminum Overcast Bits And Pieces

Either the Army thinks you are stupid or wants to help you when you are in a situation that may cause you to panic.

Switch used to change fuel tanks .

For your safety only people who can read very fast are allowed to sit near this exit.

The man who made my trip extra-special, Crew Chief Bob "Gunny" Baumgartner, and me after the flight. Thanks, Gunny.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Aluminum Overcast In The Air (part 4)

Looking out waist gunner's window.

Looking out waist gunner's window.

Looking toward the tail through the top turret.

Number 3 and 4 engines (co-pilot side).

Number 1 and 2 engines (pilot side).

Looking out the nose as we were still rising above the runway. This is the only photo I took in the bombardier section because I was so excited to be there I forgot to take anymore. This was the highlight of my flight.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

(Extra Post) Summer Starts Today

I almost forgot.

Jerry Keller

Here comes summer
School is out, oh happy day
Here comes summer
I'm gonna grab my girl and run away
Here comes summer
We'll go swimmin' every day
And let the sun shine bright on my happy summer home

Well, school's not so bad but the summer's better
Gives me more time to see my girl
Walks through the park 'neath the shiny moon
When we kiss, she makes my flattop curl

It's summer
I feel her lips so close to mine
Here comes summer
When we meet our hearts entwine
It's the greatest
Let's have summer all the time
Oh, let the sun shine bright on my happy summer home

(Here comes summer)
Here comes summer
Almost June, the sun is bright
(Here comes summer)
Here comes summer
Drive-in movie every night
(Double features)
Double features
Lots more time to hold her tight
So, let the sun shine bright on my happy summer home

Well, I wanna hold my girl beside me
Sit by the lake 'till one or two
Go for a ride in the summer moonlight
Dream of her love, the whole night through

It's summer
She'll be with me ev'ry day
Here comes summer
Meet the gang at Joe's Cafe
If she's willing
We'll go steady right away
Oh, let the sun shine bright on my happy summer home
(Oh, let the sun shine bright)
Here comes summertime at last!

The Aluminum Overcast In The Air (part 3)

Rack of bombs with names written on them. I forgot to ask who and why those names were on them.

This is the crew chief standing right under the top gun turret.

Radio room. Once of my favorite photos as in the lower left corner you can see the smart phone someone sitting in the radio operator's seat was holding. Hello, past, meet the future.

On return to the airport I ended up in a seat across from the door in the rear of the aircraft. The seat belt latched across it puzzled me since it was used to bar anyone from entering the aircraft when the door was open on the ground. Then I realized it was latched to keep it from being thrown around if the air got too bumpy.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Aluminum Overcast In The Air (part 2)

Photos of the waist gunner's machine gun.

Gun barrel and port.

Close-up of gun port and the cartridge belt.

I always thought these guns were just point and shoot but in this photo you can see the metal box installed behind the gun grip. I love the wooden cartridge belt holder on the wall to the right of the gun.

Close-up of box with the gun site on top and the various gauges and knobs used to fire the gun accurately.

Close-up of opposite gun showing the rest of the knobs on the box.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Aluminum Overcast In The Air

Looking from the back of the aircraft to the front. Row of seats on the right with waist gunner station behind it, ball turret and yellow container above the ball turret holding whatever fluid it is that operates the ball, platform around turret to radio room, and then the flight deck.

Looking past the yellow tank into the flight deck. That guy in the baseball cap is sitting where I was sitting on take-off.

Close-up of seats and seat-belts. The latches on the belts were different from any I've used before and it took me a few seconds to figure out how they worked.

Close-up of ball turret and walkway.

The pilots. I sat right behind the co-pilot on the right on take-off.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Aluminum Overcast On The Ground (part 2)

Upper gun turret behind the cockpit.

Fuselage and waist-gunner window. If you look closely you will see the machine gun pointing right at the camera.

(Remember, click on photos to enlarge.)

Tail. I have no idea what the letters mean.

Rear gun with period dressed and equipped mannequin sitting behind the plexiglass. This was the only area we were not allowed in.

Close-up of mannequin.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Aluminum Overcast On The Ground

All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1888)

The Aluminum Overcast is World War II bomber built in 1945. It has four Curtis Wright 1820-97 nine-cylinder radial engines. Six to ten passengers are allowed on each flight along with a crew of three; two pilots and one crew chief. After take-off passengers are allowed to walk around but I had the wonderful experience of being allowed to sit forward in one of the jump seats behind the pilots and next to the crew chief. As we were lifting off the ground he unbuckled himself and leaped up motioning me to do the same. This allowed me to crawl toward the nose of the aircraft and into the bombardier section where I took a photo through the plexiglass just as the aircraft flew over the end of the runway. That photo will be in the In Flight photos. Today we will start with photos I took while the aircraft was on the ground.

As you can tell it was a cloudy day which caused our flight to be delayed for a couple of hours. The wait was worth it.

Aluminum Overcast revving up for the first flight of the day. We were the second.

Two of the huge Curtis Wright engines

The cockpit above and the bombardier section in the nose with the Norden Bombsight visible behind the plexiglass.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Could A Day Be Any More Stressful?

Sometimes it's the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.
Kerri Russell (American actor)

Getting to Denver last Wednesday was more stressful than flying in the B-17 the next day. My drive started out normal until about ten miles outside of town when a Ring-necked Pheasant slammed into the windshield just above my face with a loud thunk and then slid up and over the top of the car disappearing almost as fast as it had appeared. It was so unexpected I screamed. I was also worried because the windshield is cracked on the passenger side and I was afraid that the force of a two pound bird would shatter the glass. This did not happen but I am sure the crack is now longer.

One hour later I was cruising along an almost empty Colorado highway with nothing behind me and one car about half a mile in front of me. All of a sudden that car's brake lights glowed bright red and the car stopped. Two Pronghorn Antelope started to cross in front of the car. One made it all the way over to the other side of the highway but the other spooked half way across the road and turned and leaped back over the barbed wire fence enclosing a large field of green wheat. Once both antelope were off the road the driver of the stopped car stepped on the gas and quickly speed off.

By this time I was a quarter of a mile away from the antelope and was watching the one who had made it across the highway very closely. Something about him was making me wary. He stood there staring at the other antelope who stood in the field staring back at him. The one in the field was calm but the one by the road seemed to be very agitated. I took my foot of the gas petal and started slowing down. By this time I was about fifty feet away from them when the one by the road suddenly bolted out in front of me. I slammed on the brakes as he raced across and leaped the barbed wire fence. That's when I understood what was going on. This was a mother and her almost full grown baby. The one who had made it across the road, the baby, had panicked when he got separated from his mother and his only thought was to get back to her as quickly as possible.

At this point I should have pulled the car over and taken a breather but I kept driving. Both incidents had shaken me up but I was just to stubborn to stop, I had to get to Denver. The next hour of driving was uneventful until I passed a semi on a hill and forgot to ease up on the gas petal. I zoomed down the other side into the speed gun of the Adams County deputy sheriff who was sitting in his patrol car just around a bend in the road. He was very understanding as I explained to him why I happened to be speeding telling me I was the third person from Kansas he had stopped and that the trouble with long distance driving is that people tend to loose lose focus. I agreed and signed the speeding ticket on the small clipboard he handed me. He then told me that he was pretty sure there wasn't another traffic cop between him and Denver but to make sure I didn't loose lose focus again.

Nothing happened from that point on and I made it to my niece's home without any more major trouble but I had, I realized, lost my traffic mojo. Driving for me is usually effortless experience with my car smoothly traveling along, never stuck behind big trucks, always moving to another lane just before the lane I left starts backing up because of some fool making a left turn where they shouldn't, and getting to traffic lights just as they are turning yellow. Wednesday, that wasn't happening. I got stuck behind a big truck, I got stuck behind a fool turning where he shouldn't have been turning, and I hit every red light possible.

When I reached my niece's apartment I parked in front of her building at one of the parking meters that line the block. Mine was the only car at a meter as there is a building parking lot and un-metered parking on the other side of the street. Since I was only stopping to pick up my niece, I wasn't planning on putting any money in the meter. I got out of the car and took a step toward her building, hesitated, and then walked toward the meter and dropped a quarter into it. I then walked across the street. When I reached the building door I looked back toward the street and saw a parking enforcement car slowing down to look at the meter I had parked in front of and to chalk my left back tire. I don't know where the enforcement officer had been watching me from but he/she sure had been waiting for me and I am sure he/she was hoping that he/she had just picked up an easy citation.

That is when I decided I was done driving and asked my niece to be my designated driver for the rest of the day. She was happy to oblige. I was hoping all that had happened wasn't an indication of what my birthday was going to be like the next day. As it turned out, it wasn't.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Off I Go

Off we go into the wild blue yonder,
Climbing high into the sun;
Here they come, zooming to meet our thunder,
At 'em, boys, give'er the gun!
Down we dive, spouting our flame from under,
Off with one helleva roar,
We live in fame or go down in flame, hey!
Nothing'll stop the Army Air Corps!

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Travel Day

Going to Denver today so I can fly in a B-17 on my birthday tomorrow. I'll take enough photos to bore you silly with when I get back home.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Yep, It Was Weiner's Wiener!

US Congressman Anthony Wiener finally admitted he sent a close-up photo of his underwear clad body to a women via Twitter. Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC political talk show Hardball, called this another example of "the juvenilization of America." He is right. How many Congressmen have been caught with their pants down (pun intended) in the last ten years? What is it about being elected to political office that turns grown men into immature, hormonally driven adolescents? Who, when they get caught react like children. Insisting they did not do anything for way, way, too long instead of acting like adults and saying, "Yes, I did it. I'm sorry, it was foolish, and I promise not to do it again." Of course it is not just the men, Sarah Palin still insists she wasn't wrong in her assertion that Paul Revere made his famous ride to warn the British that the British were coming....Wait, now I'm confused.

Still, is not just the politicians who act this way. So many people in our society would rather be perceived as being young rather than as a full-grown, responsible adult. We are a nation of perpetual adolescents. We want what we want when we want, we do not want anyone telling us what to do, and we definitely do not want anyone calling us on anything we might have done wrong. We are the children our parents warned us about.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Friday, June 03, 2011

The Midnight Ride Of Paul Revere

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, 'If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm.'

[...]So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

I'm putting this poem on my blog because some people are a little confused about what Paul Revere actually did back in April of Seventeen Seventy-five.

The complete poem, along with information about Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Paul Revere's ride, can be found here.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Work, Work, Work

Busy day cleaning the house, working in the yard, mowing the grass, taking recyclables up to the recycle shed and sorting them into the correct bins, but still need to water the plants and flowers. Nothing like working up a sweat to make your body feel good.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Jesus Is Real

While driving to and from visiting my husband's cousin this weekend I was both surprised and disappointed by the numerous billboards that line Interstate 70 between Goodland and Russell, Kansas. Former First Lady Lady Bird Johnson would break down in tears if she only knew what has been done to the 1965 Highway Beautification Act that she had worked so hard on.

One of the billboards that caught my eye was a painting of Jesus holding his right hand up with palm facing forward. Across the bottom of the painting were the words, JESUS IS REAL. At first I wondered if Jesus was talking about himself but I'm pretty sure he would never speak in the third person like some egocentric rap star or sports figure so it must have been a statement of fact. Still, it was confusing since it reads like an incomplete sentence. What could it mean?






I kind of like the last one, it is so Zen like.

*Santa would like to point out that just like Jesus he is real but unlike Jesus he is not dead. I think Santa is a little touchy about the subject.

**The Easter Bunny would probably refute this statement if he wasn't an anthropomorphized imaginary animal.