Archive for July, 2011


Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Here’s LRN4 with the Weinermobile.  Great Art taken at the Henry Ford Museum and part of my famous Machinery and Vacation series.

Long time no post.  I’ve been busy again.  Although I haven’t really done anything to speak of.

LRN4’s away at girls’ camp this week.  Hopefully, she’s having a great time.  I’m doing fine.  Had sushi twice so far.  Ate a bunch of Spam, eggs, hash browns, and biscuits.  Also had some frozen dinners LRN4 bought for me.  They’re low-fat and actually tasty.  I especially enjoyed the tamale.  No complaints in that department.

Doesn’t seem like I’ve gotten anything accomplished, though.  Did a bunch of LDS Tools work and umm . . . not much else.  Spent some more time working on OS X Lion, did a bit of reading, and worked.  Also ate.  And slept.  But not enough.  Sleeping, that is.  I did plenty of eating.

And I think I’ll got to bed already.  So I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this shocking food violence news: Blizzard assault!

See you tomorrow.

Village steamer

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Here’s the steam train at Greenfield Village.  I don’t know why I love steam locomotives so much.  They’re just cool.  Great Art courtesy of my good old Minolta camera and part of my famous Train, Machinery and Vacation series.  A very rare Morrowlife trifecta.

Extreme Short Shrift tonight.  It’s late.  The missionaries came over tonight to get some help with a presentation they’re making to the Relief Society on Thursday evening about  That website has gotten quite good – I recommend my Loyal Readers check it out.

Sadly, my thousandth post has gone unnoticed and uncommented by my Loyal Readers.  Sigh.  I guess I’m just not posting often enough for anybody to think to read the blog anymore.  I have nobody to blame but myself, I guess.  Don’t know if I should really keep this up anymore.  Maybe Facebook and/or Google+ are the places to be these days.

Speaking of Google+, LRN5 gave me an invitation the other day, so I have an account there now.  Not many people yet – it’s going to take a LOOOOONG time to catch up with Facebook.  However, Facebook caught up with and utterly smashed MySpace, so it’s still anybody’s game.  Google doesn’t always win these wars, but they have a fairly decent track record.  Things I like about Google+: Circles.  You can choose which of your friends can see which messages.  Keep family separate from friends separate from work separate from hobbies separate from whatever other weird things you do.  Yeah, I know Facebook can do that too, sort of.  But it’s really easy with Google+.  Let’s see, what else do I like about it?  I don’t know.  Haven’t used it that much yet.  But it’s pretty much like a very barren Facebook.  It’ll grow.

Things I don’t know about Google+:  Not having achieved critical mass yet.  Time will tell.

Okay, that’s it for tonight.  Busy week ahead, followed by a busy weekend.  Oh, we’re going to a little seminar on Saturday for people interested in starting their own businesses.  I’m really excited about it, although I’m a bit worried I’ll find out I don’t really want to make the sacrifices necessary to build business up.  I’ll let you know!

And I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this shocking food violence news: neutralized fruit basket!

See you tomorrow.


Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Here’s an old-time scale.  Great Art taken at Greenfield Village and part of my famous Workbench and Vacation series.

Welcome to a Very Special Morrowlife Blog post.  Are you sitting down?  Okay.  It’s my one thousandth post!  That’s right – one comma zero zero zero.  A grand.  My kilopost.

Absolutely amazing.  A thousand posts without ever saying anything.  Must be some kind of record.

Anyway.  If I still have any Loyal Readers left, leave me a message of hearty congratulations.  Cash is always nice too.

Sadly, nothing happened today.  Well, that’s not exactly true.  LRN12 is here!  Yea!  She and LRN4 had an action-packed day, full of book-related activities (see LRN4’s book-related blog here) and a visit to Library Park.  LRN12 and I played restaurant, cars, balloon, and Spongebob Uno.  We also watched several Spongebob episodes.  Which I possibly enjoy more than she does.  They’re upstairs getting ready for bed now while I write this.  Then it’s lights out for the entire house.

Drove home from work today.  The train people sent me a text message in the afternoon, saying there was a wildfire burning somewhere on the route and the train would probably be delayed.  I wisely chose to drive.  I just checked their website, and the first AND second trains arrived in Lardville at 7:20 (should have been here at 5:21 and 6:21, respectively), while the third train arrived at 7:28 (a mere seven minutes late).  I would have taken the second train, so I chose . . . wisely.  Even though the traffic wasn’t exactly great, I got home shortly after 6:30.  Of course, I have to drive back tomorrow morning, which shouldn’t be too bad.  Friday mornings are usually good drives, followed by horrible drives on Friday afternoons.  Which I won’t need to worry about.

Anyway.  I’ve been thinking about the last space shuttle flight, which is currently on orbit.  A lot of people are predicting doom and gloom for American Space.  I disagree.  I was working for a NASA contractor in the 1980s.  We made expendable Atlas/Centaur launch vehicles one or two at a time, always under NASA’s direction.  NASA handled all the commercial sales and ordered our products to fulfill them.  We never built enough vehicles at a time to afford to upgrade anything until it either no longer worked or absolutely couldn’t be bought anywhere at any price.  We just kept on cranking out the same old NASA-spec launchers.

That lasted until shortly after the Challenger was lost.  NASA decided they didn’t want to be in the commercial space business anymore.  They stopped selling commercial rides on the shuttle, and they decided to turn us (and our competitors) loose.  Many (most?) people in the industry thought it would be impossible to commercialize the Atlas (also the Delta and Titan bad guys) – it was way too expensive and risky for private industry to be able to do.  Well, it turned out they were wrong.  General Dynamics invested a bunch of money to modernize the fleet and offer multiple versions, and it turned out there was a strong commercial demand that kept us building Atlases at a much faster rate than we had done with NASA.  We were able to afford to make a lot of updates – really started a program of constant upgrades that continues to this day.  GD ended up losing their shirts on us, but they eventually sold the division to Martin Marietta and wrote off the development expenses.  Without all that debt, Martin was able to turn a profit on the business.  The Delta folks lived a similar story.  Both vehicles are still flying and still being actively developed – now as a joint venture between LockMart and Boeing.

Titan was a different story.  Martin was never able to position it well for the commercial market, and they were so deep into the Government Contractor way of doing business that they couldn’t figure out what to cost to make it commercially affordable.  They eventually settled on being an Air Force contractor and flew them at a large profit until the Air Force couldn’t afford them anymore.

Anyway, my point is that I believe manned space will go the same direction as the Atlas/Delta/Titan business and its numerous newly-minted competitors.  Some of the old NASA contractors will leave the market, some will lose a bunch of money trying to stay in it and will end up selling their manned space operations to leaner operators, and some will prosper as-is.  Maybe I’ll try predicting who will do what in a later post.

When we were getting ready to go commercial, many people predicted that our customer base would evaporate without NASA to hold their hands.  They thought we’d never be able to afford the financial risk (turns out you can buy insurance!).  They thought there just weren’t enough commercial satellites out there to sustain a viable business.

I see some very distinct parallels in what people are saying about manned space.  How can we send people into orbit without NASA?  Who could afford to do that?  Where’s the commercial market?  There are only so many space-enthusiast billionaires to go around, after all.

My feeling is that the commercial manned space market will blossom exactly as the commercial unmanned space market has done over the past twenty years.  New businesses will appear that will discover novel uses for people in space, and they’ll make a profit at it.  Space tourism will become a reality.  An insurance market will develop that will help spread the risk around.  We’re already seeing an explosion in the number of launch vehicle and manned spacecraft developers.  Some of the old guard will survive – I’m hoping my company will be one of them, although they’ll need to get out of their Government Contractor mode to have a chance.

I think the golden age of space travel is right ahead of us.  What do you think?

I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this exciting Morrowlife Employment Agency job opportunity: Evil Russian Hypnotist!

See you tomorrow.

Picnic tree

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Here’s a beautiful place where LRN4 and I ate our lunch during a recent hike.  What a beautiful tree!  Part of my famous Hiking series.

Only two days since my last post!  That’s some kind of a record for me, lately.

And nothing has happened in that time.  So let’s see if we can make something out of nothing.

I sat on a board of review for two young men in our Scout troop tonight.  That’s something!  One made Life and the other made First Class.  Both very nice young men.

Also worked, slept, ate, commuted, and did a bit of LDS Tools work.

Oh, my update to Morse Trainer was approved and released by Apple yesterday.  Yea!  I wonder if I’ve gotten any downloads yet (besides myself).  Hold on, I’ll take a look.

I’m back.  Sorry, no updates since Sunday.  So I guess I have to wait until next Sunday to find out.  I know I have at least one fan, though.  And that’s enough for me.  Plus my Loyal Readers, of course.

Missed a weekend party at LRN5’s place.  I saw a very brief video of the event and it looks like it was a lot of fun.  Sorry we couldn’t be there, LRN5!  As compensation, LRN12 is coming tomorrow to stay with us for a few days.  We’re really looking forward to that – it’s been quite a long time since we’ve seen her!

No condo yet.  One of our two offers was outbid by somebody else.  We’re still waiting to hear about the second, which is actually our first choice.  Fingers crossed.  If we miss it, though, another one will be along.  Just like buses.

And that’s about it for tonight.  I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this exciting Morrowlife Employment Agency opportunity: escaping ostrich!

See you tomorrow.


Monday, July 11th, 2011

Here’s the business end of a beautiful Packard in the Henry Ford Museum.  Ask the man who owns one.  Great Art courtesy of the exclusive iPhone-cam and part of my famous Machinery and Vacation series.

Extreme short shrift.  It’s already late, but I haven’t blogged in several days (yet again), so I need to at least make a token appearance.

Good weekend.  Didn’t do much.  Worked on the yard a bit, washed the pickup (my leaf blower broke a fuel line on Friday and some fuel/oil mixture got into the pickup bed when I took it to the shop, so it needed to be washed – besides, it was dirty anyway), prepared a Priesthood lesson, swam a bunch in the nice warm pool, read, napped, and generally enjoyed myself.

Wow.  That’s all I’ve been doing.  Sheesh.  LRN1 continues to do well in Guatemala as he goes about doing good.  LRN2’s having a great time at school and work, LRN3 is making excellent progress, LRN4 is fine as always, and LRN5 is doing very well too.  So the Loyal Readers are great.

And I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this shocking food violence news: cottage cheese assault!

See you tomorrow.