Friday, August 31, 2007

Joe Cocker and John Belushi: Feeling Alright

Need I say anything? A classic, indeed!

Labor Day Highway Deaths

As we begin the Labor Day Weekend, let us remember that nearly 500 people will die on our roadways. The statistics are alarming, and since we are driving smaller cars in an attempt to save gasoline the trends may move upwards. Be safe, don’t drink and drive and stay rested.

Other Tips for safety:

Check your tire pressure

Ensure your oil is at full capacity

Clean your windshield

Don’t be in a rush

Pass with care

Don’t be a tragic statistic this weekend, Gadabout values his readership!

Gadabout J Jack

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Red Cross Blood Donation Scam

Gadabout believes that blood is a commodity—for the most part. In general, the American medical establishment depends on a plentiful supply of “clean” blood for the survival of many. To fill this need, the public is called upon by the Red Cross for donations from the citizenry under the guise of “citizenship.” The Red Cross, under the leadership of highly paid professionals; advertises, pleas, shames, and operates mobile units to collect blood. But somewhere along the line the cost to recipients skyrockets.

Gadabout does not know how much a hospital charges for a unit of blood, but I bet it is at least $250 (I am willing to take a comment here from an administrative professional). My premise is that if donors where paid for their blood, then there would never be a shortage of blood under NORMAL (commercial) conditions. Gadabout is O negative. If I were to donate a unit of blood once a month for my entire life and if tragedy were to hit me tomorrow, I’d still be paying full price for what I consumed. Think of this—if we were paid for blood, then those, like myself who are Aids and Hep-B free, would be willing to give and give if there was some kind of reciprocity program in place.

So long as overpaid chairman of the Red Cross, overpaid HMO executives, and overpaid hospital administrators lead the medical community, then we are not operating under an umbrella of volunteerism. Thousands of individuals are making serious cash from free blood donations. If blood was treated like a true commodity, the cost per unit might actually decline for the end user. Donation trucks? Gone. Advertising? Gone. Supplies? Stabilized. Fear mongering? Yesterday's news.

Okay, Gadabout, how about disasters, war, and unforecasted events? Well, yes, we donate. Yes, Gadabout has given blood in the past since we do operate under a flawed system, and O neg is a hot commodity. Once, while pulling out of port aboard the USS Blueridge, a mooring line mishap seriously injured 3 sailors. The call was made for O neg and I ran down to medical only to find I was about 10th in line. I was turned away, but would have given that sailor all I could possibly give before expiring myself. And I would do it at a moments notice for other fellow Americans, so long as the recipient wasn’t going to be charged for my blood to fill the pockets of fat cats.

The “establishment” has not exposed the difference between commercial and disaster related blood demands, and because so we find ourselves supporting a skewed market environment. A market that is ripe for money making at the expense of distorting the facts and engendering fear. Shame on you, Red Cross!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

50 cal. Range Safety

Listen closely as the round returns home.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Special Note to Gadabout Fans

Gadabout has been messing around with the the Blog layout--deleting page elements and changing templates since all is breaking down with Google Blogspot. We'll get it back in order soon. Software people can do great things, but most outputs seem to suck. Google needs to suck less.


The Importance of Infrastructure

The Lights Went Out!

Temporarily shut down
Americans bitch

Gadabout would like to remind everyone that our country enjoys a widespread, advanced and intricate network of infrastructure. Infrastructure of highways, bridges, water and sewage plants, electrical grids, natural gas pipelines, gasoline stations, universities, governmental structures, National and State Parks, telephone, and a host of other wonders that the rest of the planet envies. Americans have already paid for a majority of these cornerstones of our society, and others are still on the books listed as debt in the form of federal, state and municipal bonds.

Our infrastructure is the fabric that binds us as a nation. It allows us to travel, flourish and survive. We are fortunate in this way. The Twin City bridge disaster showed us how delicate our fabric is and that we must be vigilant in maintaining our infrastructure, because if we fail to do so chaos follows.

Let us remain keenly aware of the newest little democracy of Iraq, with all of the unrest it faces that threatens its water, sewage, electrical supplies and so forth. Take note of how inconvenient life is in America when we lose power for a day or two, or when highway lanes are closed for repair. It will take time in Iraq. Let us not be hasty with unreasonable timetables for success. A lasting friendship with a new Iraq may very well be worth the wait. Human life is at stake in Iraq. Ordinary everyday people are affected there. We are a nation of kindness, but we like to bitch a lot too.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Friday, August 24, 2007

Interactive Movie Quotes

One of Gadabout’s readers recommended recently that we play around with movie quotes, so let’s give it a try. I will make the first play by using the following:

"I can no hit curve ball. Straight ball I hit it very much. Curve ball, bats are afraid."

Now, the first person to identify the correct movie should post a comment with the correct movie title and then include another movie quote. Get the idea? It should move along like a chain. If somebody screws it up, we’ll make fun of that person—okay?

Update from Gadabout:

After rereading the request from "Stork," we should be using famous alcohol related movie quotes. My bust.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sensible Green

Since Gadabout continues his quest for seeking ways to become greener, he has labeled his expedition of truth “Sensible Green.” Sensible Green does not rely upon Al Gore nonsense measures like carbon credits or scare tactics, it is based on sensibilities. Sensibilities that the entire family can appreciate, understand and enjoy. Together, we will create an open book of our lifestyles and consumption patterns. This open book approach will have an outcome of reflection, comparison and trends.

The Book will be kept by families and will contain spreadsheets, tables and graphs of household consumption patterns. Monthly gasoline purchases for autos, boats, RVs, lawn mowers; water consumption; electricity, natural gas and heating oil usage will be tabulated and updated. The right software would make this an easy task, and the data outputs would allow all members of the household to reflect on consumption rates and provide a catalyst for conservation.

It appears that young adults and children have already been brainwashed in school that Americans are evil consumers, so they will most likely embrace the idea and play along. It is my belief that Americans want to conserve, but they cannot find a starting point or baseline. Americans are visual animals, and a monthly glance at pie charts, graphs and other forms of descriptive data should formulate and build a foundation for comparison and action.

I think it is reasonable to suggest that many Americans already chart automobile MPG rates for their cars, but I doubt that many, if any, chart their entire household energy/consumption footprint. I can hear it now, “mom, we need to turn down the heat because we are on track to exceed last year’s natural gas numbers.” That would be cool!

Are there any Excel Geeks out there willing to set this package up? If so, email your proposal to Gadabout Jack for trial and I’ll select a winner. The winning software package will retain all rights to their creation, but will provide it to Gadabout and his readers for free upon request. If this idea turns into a money making website, Gadabout wants part of the action! Any takers?

Gadabout surprises himself at times regarding the workings of his brain that functions under the restraints of a very average IQ.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Van Morrison - 'Days Like This'

Some days are better than others, but Van always seems to be there when he is needed. Van Morrison is one of the greatest. Thanks, Van.

A Farewell to Bottled Water

While Gadabout was vacationing in Michigan last week he listened to a news report on the radio concerning a 25 cent excise tax on bottled water. At first I gaffed it off as a State deep in recession looking for ways to generate additional revenues on the backs of already strapped citizens. Soon after my return, I read a story in the NY Times that addressed this issue and the popularity of the idea of taxing bottled water across the nation. This got me thinking—maybe there is a good point to all of this. Bottled water is, after all, a rip off. We all know this, and most of us usually feel a little silly paying a dollar for a 16 ounce bottle at the local 7-11 to quench our thirst.

Even if we buy bottled water in bulk, we still spend about 30 cents per 16 ounce bottle. That is $2.40 per gallon, which is just slightly less than a gallon of gas! At full retail it adds up to $8.00 per gallon. Buy high end products from a Starbucks (Ethos?) and I am certain you’ll hit the $10 mark. Americans are stupid. We bitch about the cost of gas, yet we fill our tummies with $10 water—water that is virtually free from our taps!

Let’s face it, most of America enjoys fantastic hydro-infrastructure systems and the quality is top notch. We paid a lot of cash over the past century setting up and maintaining this infrastructure and now we only use it to take showers and water the lawn!

Bottled water produces a lot of waste. It takes energy produce all those bottles. It takes gasoline to deliver the bottles to retail outlets. It takes effort, manpower and energy to dispose of the bottles. I don’t care if you “recycle” or not, it still requires processing! And lastly, those nasty bottles that do not make it to a landfill end up floating in our lakes, seas, rivers and oceans. Wasteful!

Two weeks ago, Gadabout broke out an ancient water bottle that was resting peacefully at the back of a kitchen cabinet and started putting it to good use. As a matter of fact I used it this morning when I hit the tennis courts, which offered a nearly free and ice filled refreshment. I was proud of myself for not be a wasteful sort and knew that I helped save the world.

Let’s work together on this very strange human addiction to bottled water and see if we can save the world one bottle at a time. Pass the word, and pass the word of Gadabout Jack.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Dear Gadabout Jack: Dangerous Canine Breeds

Dear Gadabout Jack,
I read your blog comments about dangerous dogs with great interest. While I don't disagree with some of your premises I would offer that dogs are made mean, not born mean. They are only dangerous because they have been trained that way. Outlawing dangerous breeds is like outlawing guns where only the criminals will have them.

My Siberians are considered a dangerous breed; however, because I have taken the time to train and socialize them people comment on how well behaved they both are.

I also think Vick should be subjected to the same treatment he allegedly imposed on those dogs under his care; electrocution, beatings, etc. He made those dogs mean.

What really needs to happen, but won't, is that owners should be responsible enough to train and socialize their dogs. Just like some people shouldn't be allowed to have children because they can't raise them properly, there are people that shouldn't be allowed to have dogs, or cats, or cars, because they are not mature enough or responsible enough to be entrusted. That is the root cause of a lot of our social ills.
Siberian Dad

Dear Siberian Dad: First off, hats off for taking a position on this extremely important social issue. Gadabout applauds you for your efforts in properly training Sparky and Spot so as to protect the public at large. You receive a Gadabout Gold Star for your maturity and social consciousness. With that said, Gadabout is not budging one iota from his position that dangerous breeds should be banned. The extent of such a ban is yet unformulated in my brain, but I firmly believe that it should include heavily populated areas.

The “gun” metaphor does not hold weight with me since guns cannot get lose on their own and roam the streets looking for a fight and pray. Vicious and indurate guns do not exist, but angry dogs do. Animals act upon their own instincts. Guns depend on a human for operation.

Well trained dogs sometimes snap. I have a personal friend who owned a well behaved canine that “lost it” and bit a young girl in the face. The attack required immediate plastic surgery, and they barely escaped a hefty lawsuit.

Of your mention of an “eye for an eye” justice for Vick, well, we are a nation of laws that will take care of Vick. He’ll pay dearly for his actions. And in a nation that heavily debates the death penalty for heinous crimes against humanity, the likelihood of stiffer sentences for animal crimes are slight.

From a distance, it is difficult to determine with certainty whether a dog is dangerous or docile, trained or feral, or a threat or non threat. Because of this, the public is always in possible danger of an attack.

I understand your point and sympathize with your situation. You are one of the “good” dog owners and you have to take the heat for others who are neglectful in their duties and responsibilities. You represent a subset of society that will be impacted by the few. Sorry about that. I’ll still oppose you since others cannot be trusted. This is a black and white case for Gadabout Jack.

I feel your pain,
Gadabout J Jack

Monday, August 20, 2007

Mysterious Contrails

One of Gadabout’s readers asked for information on mysterious “contrails” (sometimes referred to as "chemtrails" by the mentally challenged) generated by aircraft. It seems that there is a great deal of interest in contrails and the possibility that the evil United States government is testing chemicals and so forth in the skies above populated areas. Gadabout believes that if it is true that we are testing chemicals in the skies that it would almost be as cool as space aliens and magnetic pole reversals. Sadly, I don’t buy into the hype generated by the gloom and doom bloggers trying to sell fear, panic and ad space.

Contrails are as natural as baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet. Once we starting building airplanes that could make it up to about 25,000 feet, contrails were born. Contrails are the result of ice crystals, small particles of engine gases, pressures and humidity. Sometimes contrails last for very long periods of time when there is a lot of humidity, and shorter periods when there is less humidity. Sometime we see them at sea level in the form of wingtip vortices from landing aircraft. Regardless, contrails are nothing more than thin clouds.

Now let’s look into the conspiracy claims that the government is poisoning the public through the use of aerial refueling tankers. I’ll make a list of talking points:

- Why would we poison the US population when we could easily mess with the Mexicans or Canadians?

- Why would “they” spray during daylight hours and been seen?

- Aerial military tankers sometimes leak a bit of fuel, but it evaporates before hitting the ground. When aircraft “dump” fuel to lighten its landing weight, it is accomplished above 6,000 feet (when possible). This ensures evaporation. Gadabout has dumped more fuel in his lifetime than he could possibly use in his car in a hundred years. Very Cool.

- How could the government keep such a program secret? Let’s face it, military people are human! They like blowing up commies and rag heads--not fellow Americans.

- The winds are very high up in the wild blue. Sometimes they reach 200 knots above 30,000 feet in the winter. That would blow the “poison” in an unpredictable and unscientific pattern.

- The contrail patterns seen in the skies are normally from long lasting contrails that converge over navigational checkpoints, or military operating areas. Both will display a wide variety of shapes and forms.

The bottom line is that contrails are cool, are formed by the influence of mankind’s flying machines, and don’t contain poison. Furthermore, it is doubtful that the government is experimenting on us by dumping substances from the sky.

If you happen upon a strange contrail consider that it may be an aircraft dumping fuel, unusual shadowing effects at or near sunset, an airborne fire, or the government trying to kill us all. Gadabout is here for you--24/7/365.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

1 Hour Dry Cleaners

Sparkle Cleaners--photo taken while undercover
Gadabout noticed the above sign for a 1 hour dry cleaning service this morning on his way to a local Starbucks in Buffalo. One hour dry cleaning? I have see these signs on every dry cleaning operation and I simply don’t buy into the program so I stopped in and inquired.

Sparkle Cleaners boasts that they are experts in Suede, Leather, Draperies, Full Alterations and Wedding Gown Restoration. They have two locations in Buffalo, a nice pricing sheet and charge 10 cents for extra starch. Nowhere, though, do they list a price for “one hour” cleaning—so I asked. I was told that one hour cleaning was available if “Tom” was in. If he was than he could process an order if he had the time. The time? I then asked how much one hour cleaning cost and she really couldn’t say; it was all dependent on the situation.

If cleaning can be accomplished in 1 hour, than why does it take 3 to 4 days for a regular order? It is all nonsense. Another question—why are there so many items on the conveyor belt. Have you ever looked at how loaded the inventory of cleaned orders that are ready for pick up is? Why is this? Are the owners dead? Did they move? Did they forget? Did they bring in old clothes as a nasty joke, never intending to pick up their cleaning?

There is a mystery in dry cleaning. Gadabout asks for your assistance in uncovering the truth. Is this all a Hoax?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Exploring Up State NY

File photo of a Lake LA-4-200 aircraft utilized for the 14 August, 2007 expedition
Gadabout went on a major expedition yesterday in his continuous quest for understanding, exploration and adventure. It was decided that a survey of Lake Ontario would be made from the air to study the effects of Global warming in areas of decreasing population. To this end, I decided on Rochester NY as a starting point.

Since Gadabout is interested in aviation, I chose to fly a seaplane to observe the southern coast of Ontario. The use of a seaplane accomplished two objectives. The first was to regain currency in flying seaplanes. The second was the ability to land in the water to study water temperatures and aquatic life forms first hand. Both were a success.

My guide, Ken Lindsay, is the owner of Molly Air, Inc which operates a Lake LA-4-200 aircraft. After a briefing on aircraft systems, operating area and mission objectives we lifted our aircraft from Rochester’s (KROC) runway 22, headed north and flew along the Ontario shoreline until finding a suitable landing site. Long Pond was chosen for its favorable length and prevailing winds.

After 2 water landings, high speed taxi runs and noting the environs of Up State NY, Gadabout has determined that Global Warming has not, as of yet, disrupted Ontario or Rochester. Also noted was that very few power boats were underway, from which I infer that the local economy is under extreme economic pressures resulting from high toll road fees and excessive property taxes.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Genuine vs. Store Bought Thrills

Rope Swing in action (photo not of Gadabout's buddy, Stork--but is a cool shot from the same rope)
Stork prepares for his adventure
Rope Swing

Simple in design
Pendulum swing into flight
Cold water landing

One of Gadabout’s friends recently talked about his experience with a rope swing while vacationing in Montana. After reading his description of the event and listening to him on the telephone, Gadabout has uncovered how the competition between store bought experiences play against the real thing:

This is a little rope swing I found on a hike in Montana. No idea this was there, just one of life's little surprises. As much fun as one can have with their clothes on and not sitting in a Tomcat. Drop was about 35 or 40 feet, and the rope swing was probably moving 35 miles an hour at top speed with my fat ass hanging off of it.

Someone tied a loop at the bottom, but you'd have to be nuts to stick your foot in it. If you happened to get tangled up in it trying to release and couldn't get free, the return impact on the shoreline would inflict a mortal wound.

As is, you just have to hold on with everything you've got. A smart math guy could probably do some geometry/physics and calculate a max g force. I weigh about 210 [Comment from Gadabout: 210—come on and stop lying!], and it felt like I was holding up quite a bit more than that. A lady broke her femur the day before because she couldn't hold her weight and fell crossing the waterline. The best thing to do would be to get some BM3 [a BM3 is a sailor who knows how to tie a knot] out there to tie a Monkey Fist knot on the bottom of that thing to stand on and make it safer!

The rope was just a regular sort of rope tied to about a 90 foot pine at the water's edge. After you decide to “go for it” you take it about 50 feet up a 45 degree slope, stand on a rock, and go. Your ass is about 1 foot off the ground at water's edge and then you get launched out over the water about 70 feet laterally and end up with about a 30-40 foot vertical drop. I must say, it was pretty sweet.

Gadabout believes this is why Disney World, Bush Gardens and other pay as you go thrill producing enterprises are so ho-hum. The real deal is the real deal, and waiting in line for 45 minutes at the Magic Kingdom for a 4 minute ride that costs mega bucks just doesn’t stack up.

Rope swings are real. The danger of not holding on is real. Launching through the air and landing in cold river waters is real. Find genuine experiences in life like rope swings, and you’ll find happiness.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties

Gadabout had the rare opportunity to hang out in Manhattan this past weekend to celebrate the upcoming marriage of two close friends. Manhattan was chosen as the gathering place for a joint bachelor and bachelorette get together. Friday night was scheduled as a mixer, and Saturday night was bifurcated along gender lines. The result? Well, we all spent a lot of cash, ate millions of calories of food and consumed vast quantities of alcohol.

With all of the above said and done, I would like to say that I enjoyed the precious moments I spent with close friends in celebration of marriage. I would not exchange the trip for all of the money in the world (well, maybe for all of the money in the world, but not for let’s say $5,000—if we are going to put a dollar figure on it!). The bottom line is that we all had fun, and having a joint gender gathering is kind of cool since it eliminates the mysteries of suspicion and doubt. This is good.

With that said, Gadabout will offer some modest advice for those planning parties in preparation for marriage:

For the Guys:

No Dancers or other women who offer their bodies for a price should ever be part of the plan. No good ever comes from paying for females to join in the fun. Just look to the game of lacrosse in North Carolina for supporting arguments.

If you party in NY then you should fly into the city. Gadabout made the decision to drive into Manhattan, and I was rewarded in misery. The toll roads in NJ suck, and entering Manhattan via the Lincoln Tunnel on a Friday is akin to flying a combat mission with a suspect hydraulic system, suffering from the flu, and having an idiot as a division lead. Pay the cash and fly.

Eat light. We dined at one of those fancy Brazilian restaurants where they offer unlimited quantities of meat, from all the animals on earth, to stuff a hungry pie hole. Over eating is uncomfortable and unhealthy. Guys cannot say no, so all you can eat is a bad idea. Someone always blows chunks, and during our event a nameless soul soiled the hotel floor near the elevators.

Abuse alcohol wisely. Gadabout learned the ancient art of mixing Red Bull with various distilled spirits. This kept me alert and allowed me to look after my buddies until the wee hours of the night.

Use the “double it” rule. Whatever you budget for a trip into party central double that amount. This will keep you from hunting for an ATM machine at 0200.

For the Chicks:

Support the Guys in all their endeavors. Look, you own us in the long run so play along and bend backwards to keep us happy. We all end up buying you a house after ten years, forcing us to live in a cheat apartment until we recover financially and emotionally after the divorce. Be kind!

And before I forget, we (the guys) witnessed at least 5 bachelorette parties as we flowed throughout the city enjoying our anonymity. Wearing a balloon shaped like a penis on your head looks silly. Keep it on the DL!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Gadabout Jack is Recovering from a Weekend in the Big Apple

Gadabout will report Back on his adventure in NYC this weekend. I am currently recovering from alcohol poisoning and a severe lack of sleep. My body and soul are damaged and healing now. More to come soon.
Very Respectfully,
Gadabout Buffalo following an expedition in NYC

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Baseball Box Scores

Be not afraid of Box Scores
Gadabout firmly believes that being able to read a baseball box score is akin to being able to read music, speak a foreign language or understand calculus. All are important in fulfilling a rich and productive life.

Most Americans, especially women, don’t read box scores any longer. They are becoming relics of a distant past. We tend to rely upon Sports Center for details—we like visuals. Usually we’ll find the standings in sports section in the newspaper and sum up the summaries, and hunt for trends such as winning streaks or last ten games played. Then we refocus our attention to the comics.

Box scores are unique in the sense that in the “box” the entire game can be broken down piece by little piece. All the data is there for digestion and what is omitted is not necessary to fill in the blanks. Box scores are perfection, poetry, and art. Learn to read box scores and you’ll enjoy a history lesson in our most favorite pastime—Baseball!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Dog Days of Summer

Sirius, the Dog Star
Gadabout has found interest in the Dog Days of summer and how we tend to throw that phrase about without knowing the historical context. Dog Days refer to the star “Sirius” and it’s conjunction with the sun during a 40 day period from 3 July to 11 August. (Now it is making sense to you why Sirius Satellite Radio has a little doggy for a logo, isn't it?) The ancients believed that the added radiation from Sirius increased the temperature on earth that resulted in famine, disease and general irritability. They were wrong, of course, because it was the beginning of Global Warming. Their theories just didn’t stack up over time. They were stupid. Since they didn’t have television to keep them informed, they stared at the stars at night and studied their patterns, shapes and intensities. What a waste of time!

Today is 8 August, so we only have three more days of suffering the Dog’s bite, then all will be fine and dandy again. Fine and dandy for those living in the northern hemisphere because they don’t have a Sirius star in the southern latitudes to gauge summer. The North rules in this sense; much like in the outcome of the Civil War.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Video Professor

Gadabout doesn’t believe John W. Scherer is an actual Professor, but he is a very rich man who feeds off fear and ignorance suffered by those in society who are baffled by computer languages. The Video Professor makes enthusiastic claims of fast and effective learning techniques through the sale of CDs with “guaranties” of success—or “he’ll refund the S&H” of his products. His commercials are nauseating, and use levity in light of consumer fears and anxieties who face of a tidal wave of change in which they are falling behind the broader population.

I admit to never using a VP product, or even attempt to contact the company to make inquiries about their products or services, but I have recently gone up the VP web site to investigate. Scherer may have started VP with a genuine desire to offer a viable product to feed the hungry and thirsty first time computer owners trying to figure out how to use those mysterious grey boxes, but today he is nothing more than a charlatan.

Messing around on the www, I found several pages where consumers felt ripped off by hard selling telemarketers. False claims, extra CDs showing up in the mailbox, and hidden charges smack the face of the friendly Professor.

VP supplies false hope to those who are already on tight budgets, are struggling to catch up with the rest of society and are most vulnerable in a rapidly changing technical landscape. If the VP is truly a rip-off artist, then he is engaging in unforgivable sins against his fellow man.

Help Gadabout Jack on this: is the VP legitimate, or is he a sinner? What do you think?

Monday, August 6, 2007

School Bus Safety

Gadabout is curious about school bus safety and the fact that most school buses are not equipped with seat belts. I was surprised that there is so much debate on the issue. Just Google “seatbelts school bus” and you’ll see what I am talking about.

The advocates for maintaining the status quo state that “compartmentalization” of seat design keeps a child safe. They might get tossed around a bit in a crash, but they will not be killed. They also cite additional costs for installing seat belts, a low death rate (11 deaths per year), child non-compliance with using seatbelts, and general safety of heavy vehicles such as school buses when involved in an accident.

Advocates for change cite that while the number of deaths is low, the number of injuries is high. They dismiss the assumption that children will not comply with seatbelt usage since they have been brought up in a culture of using seatbelts in automobiles. Additionally, they note that compartmentalization does not provide safety for rollovers and side impact collisions.

Gadabout sizes up the argument as a cost issue. School buses serve a diverse customer base; from little people in kindergarten to high school seniors, and the same fleet services all. If seatbelts were mandated, then it would be difficult to dispatch the fleet to serve multiple requirements. This might lead to a requirement to acquire more buses and drivers. As it stands now, you can easily pack the little kiddies like sardines into the yellow can and nobody whispers a word.

It’s always about the money. Follow the money to find answers in life. Money is a powerful force. Life in America is a delicate balance between public safety and the almighty dollar.

What do you think?

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Return to the Moon

Dear Muslim Extremists,

We, the civilized world, are headed back to the Moon, and Mars is next. You Looney Muslim Jihad Has-beens can stay on Earth and blow each other up. Sorry, but you're not invited to explore the Universe with us. Go scrounge up some C-4 and discarded dynamite and continue with your life's mission. Our mission is one of understanding, exploration and peace.

Gadabout Jack

The Constellation Program

Gadabout finds it interesting that since NASA has announced that the Space Shuttle Program is nearing the end of its life cycle, that nobody is talking about what comes next. We have an international space station orbiting the earth, mention has been made of returning to the moon, and the President proclaimed that we are going to Mars.

As always, Gadabout is here to report the under-reported. The replacement for the Shuttle is the “Constellation Program.” Constellation is composed of the Ares I and Ares V Rocket launchers, the Orion crew capsule, A Departure Stage system, and Lunar Surface Access Module:

“Once in orbit, the Orion crew capsule -- the astronaut module delivered to orbit by Ares I -- docks with the orbiting Earth Departure Stage carrying the Lunar Surface Access Module, which will ferry astronauts to and from the moon’s surface. Once mated with the crew module, the departure stage fires its engine to achieve "escape velocity," the speed necessary to break free of Earth's gravity, and the new lunar vessel begins its journey to the moon.” [NASA]

In essence, we’ll have 2 rocket systems. The Ares I will launch astronauts into orbit with the Orion capsule, and Ares V (heavy lifter) will supply the Launch Stage system that will boost the Orion and Lunar Surface Access Module to the moon. The Ares V will also lift supplies for the International Space Station, as well as vehicle components for the impending Mars mission.

This is cool stuff, but gets very little press. Hey, we are going to be launching Ares I rockets by 2013 and will be returning to the Moon shortly thereafter. Mars? We’ll be there by 2025 at the latest. This is the real deal. Get excited!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Tacoma Bridge

Theory and Knowledge

viewed this video while attending Michigan State University during an undergraduate course in Vibration Theory (Gadabout is a scientist). As you can see from the video, structures made by man are susceptible to failure. In this case, vibrational effects from natural winds set the stage for the natural harmonic of the bridge to become unstable, traverse the entire length of the center span resulting in failure. I remember being fascinated by this film clip as a young college student.

It has been a very long time since I have studied engineering, so I’ll pass on trying to go much farther into detail and embarrass myself, but I would like to take this opportunity to point out that much of what we create is based on Theory. There is a big difference between theory and knowledge. Theory, data and knowledge are framed in many different references, colors and varying shades of understanding.

Engineers, scientists, doctors and various other creators design, build and observe their outputs. The output in Tacoma was a bridge. The outcome of the design was failure in the form of an unforeseen harmonic vibration. This sent the engineers back to the books and their calculations to eliminate future design flaws. Many years ago, doctors used the practice of bleeding patients to cure illnesses. The benefits of bleeding were based upon a theory; and a silly theory by today’s standards.

Theories cannot be proven wrong, because they are not facts. Take the leap of faith, folks. Theories are simply replaced by other theories. Remember, gravity is a just a theory!

Global Warming is a theory. Fact (knowledge) is that the planet has shown a warming trend during the past century. Theories as to why the planet is warming vary.

Evolution is a theory. The existence of God is a theory. The “Big Bang” is a theory.

What happened to the bridge in Minneapolis will be determined using vibration theory, modeling and simulation, and a host of other investigative techniques. I find it rather alarming that the story in Minnesota is framed in a political and broad descriptive data viewpoint. Political, since it has been linked to the President’s “failures” with Katrina. Descriptive data, since we all are told that 70,000 other bridges across the nation are in the “same condition” as the collapsed bridge. We are told to be scared.

My theory is that the said bridge collapsed due to a combination of initial design flaws, age, minor structural failures, winds, temperature, loading patterns and the “fact” that repairs were underway. Most likely a sudden vibrational event occurred when many factors came together at a single point in time. Tragic, but we should be thankful that more did not die that day. I am surprised that the Press has not shown the film clip of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. It’s my theory that Tacoma is a forgotten event. Gadabout Jack hasn't forgotten, especially since he has driven over the replacement bridge many times.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Time for BO to GO

Gadabout predicts that Barack is history. Yep, the gentleman presidential hopeful from Illinois has gone on the record too many times of late saying stupid things that dash his chances for the White House. And Hillary? Well, the press loves Hillary.

Why Hillary, you ask? Well, Hillary has cleavage. Hillary wrote letters to friends while attending college. Hillary is a mother. Hillary voted yes for the war. Hillary has made decisions. Hillary exhibited patience with Bill. Hillary doesn’t take crap from anyone. The Right underestimates Hillary, but Barack doesn’t. Barack may say silly things about nuclear weapons, invading Pakistan, sex education; but he is not stupid—he has just said stupid things in public.

Barack isn’t going to go away anytime soon, and after he bows out of the race, he’ll return to the Senate where he’ll make progress and accrue polish. Bet on it. Gadabout believes Barack will be president someday, but just not today. The guy is a good statesman and he boasts an impressive bio. He graduated from Columbia and attended Harvard Law. Certainly a better resume than Gadabout’s.

Vice President Barack Obama? Nope, he hates Hillary. Barack will stay a senator and do the Lord’s work. He’ll succeed as a senator while the country flounders after the 2008 election. Barack will wait patiently for the next opportunity, and when that opportunity arrives, we’ll have our first black president. Not this time around though. Barack is learning and learning fast. Harvard Law graduates are like that—they are smart.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

“Fat Guy in a Little Coat”

An Outlaw
Bare Bellied Felon

Shirtless male walks by
Oblivious of manners
Bystanders vomit

Gadabout firmly believes that men should always wear a shirt in public. The only exception to this rule is when you are on the beach and taking a swim. If you are a fat man, then you should immediately put your shirt back on after swimming—period!

It does not matter if you are mowing your lawn on your own property, taking Sparky for a walk on a hot afternoon in August, or taking in a jog to lose weight; you owe it to society to cover that fat, hairy belly of yours. This is “Man Law;” pure and simple.

Too many men, of all walks of life, have been violating this time honored truth of manhood. I see shirtless hillbillies driving pedophile vans; fat-cat, cigar smoking, gold chain wearing New Yorker’s walking on sidewalks; and househusbands sporting bellies galore riding bicycles. I see these disingenuous public displays of nausea every day. This wanton rule breaking of man law is sickening.

Women can help in this matter. Gadabout asks that all women support this rule and change the habits of your pals. Don’t be afraid, you can make a difference by always packing an extra shirt while vacationing, offering a shirt to your man when he is mowing the lawn, or refusing to bike ride with a shirtless friend.

The time for swift action is upon us—let us pray that we succeed in our eternal quest for dignity!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Emma Peel vs a lowly Sentry Girl!

"The Avengers" was one of Gadabout's favorite television programs in his youth. Can you blame him? No, because Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) was smoking hot, wore leather catsuits, always won the fight, and packed heat! Emma Peel was cool.

High Time for Tough Action against Pit Bulls

The Enemy Within
Now that we have begun to digest the horrific details of Michael Vick’s woes concerning his evil interests in dog fighting, it may be time for our attention to shift towards the dogs themselves. Gadabout knows that many of his readers are most likely “dog lovers” since many American families boast canine companions, and champion dog rights. But after some shallow research, I have determined that we must start passing tough laws banning dangerous dogs, such as Pit Bulls, from society.

I used Wikipedia as the sole source for building my thesis because I was too lazy to dig deep into the volumes of data out and about. Wikipedia is not always a trusted source, but what source is balanced? That’s why we trust Gadabout Jack; he freely admits to offering biased opinion based upon loose facts, but he is almost always right on the mark!

In 2005, Ontario, Canada, outlawed Pit Bulls. That’s right; the entire Province is Pit Bull free. Sort of like a drug free zone posted around a public school (yeah, those signs work well!). The few grandfathered Pit Bulls had to undergo sterilization to maintain legal status. Good job, Canada!

In America, we don’t think twice about passing “no smoking” laws to protect nonsmokers; we pass “gun laws” to protect the innocents; we post speed limits to save lives and save fuel; and we also set BAC alcohol limits for driving. Take dogs from their owners? Hell no!

Gadabout says, “Outlaw Pit Bull and other dangerous breeds—forever.”

There are nearly 400,000 reported dog attacks on humans in this country every year, and the bulk of them are at the jaws of the mighty and angry Pit Bull. Support Citizens Against Dangerous Dogs (CADD), and make a lasting difference in protecting society.