Is this drought one of the run-of-the-mill weather woes of the year or has a drought like this ever happened before? Yes, it has, and I was living in California when it happened before. The very next rainy season solved the problem when record rains filled all of the reservoirs to overflowing, but there is no guarantee that will happen this time around. If record rains do not come then California is in big trouble. There could even be a shortage of drinking water.
I live in the tropics and right now it is the rainy season. Everything here is so green and so wet you could not start a forest fire with a military-grade flame thrower. Ha… it just started raining again even as I write this. If only there were a way to send our rain to California.
The issue of climate change is very complicated. No single weather event can verify or negate what is happening to the planet, but the lack of water in California is affecting farmers and that is in turn affecting food production, which in turn will affect humans.
I am not saying the sky is falling, but in the American west, nothing except soot from the forest fires is falling. That can’t be good for anyone!
What’s in your future? Is it sunshine, lollipops, unicorns, and rainbows? I hope it is, but beyond wars, and rumors of wars, and a human-created virus, there is a certain reality that awaits all of us.
Question: Is your job secure? Do you even have a job? If Covid-19 Madness has come to your community, you might not be working now. If you are one of the lucky ones with a job, but you should consider that you might not have the job security that your parents or grandparents enjoyed. Times have changed, and there is no gold watch in your future.
Those of you who do not understand what a gold watch has to do with working are probably on the near side of 50, and if you are in your 20s or 30s, it is unlikely that you even have a clue as to what the gold watch has to do with working, but I digress.
Why are jobs and the future of human labor in jeopardy?I can tell you in one word–ROBOTS. The rate at which robots powered by artificial intelligence are advancing is mind-boggling. I am interested in both Robots and Artificial Intelligence so I constantly seek the latest information on the development of both, but I can scarcely keep up with the rapid advancements in either field. I also understand that real cutting-edge technology in Artificial Intelligence and Robots is classified and not available to the public. It takes time for cutting-edge advancements to emerge and appear on YouTube, but enough is already published or “leaked out.”
Big companies like Amazon already utilize robotsto a great extent. Even smaller companies now employ robots and that will expand as time goes by. One of my favorite examples of robots in the workplace is the robot duo that serves coffee in Korea. CLICK HERE to see the Coffee Robots
NOTE: To preserve the continuity of reading the text each of the video links is also presented in a single list at the end of this text.
Robots come in many shapes and sizes. Only a few of them look like Robbie the Robot from the 50s and 60s television and movies. However, now some look incredibly like humans. Of course, many robots have no human form at all. Most do not walk or talk, but it is the human-like robots that will define our future.
One robot has gained quite a bit of fame. Her name, or should I say its name is Sophia. She is a robot that appears to be artificially intelligent, but she might not really be as intelligent as she appears. Some even say that she is a hoax. Nevertheless, she was given full citizenship in Saudi Arabia making her the first robot in modern history to achieve that status. However, if nothing else, she is giving us a look at what a truly artificially intelligent autonomous robot of the future might be. I am not sure about the ultimate consequence of that situation. CLICK HERE to see the Human-like Robot “Sophia”
There is no question that a robotic device is coming for your job. That’s a given, and it includes those of you in the medical and legal professions. With the possible exception of the world’s oldest profession, no job is robot-proof, but should we worry?
There might be cause for alarm, but it is never over until the fat lady or the fat robot sings. Some governments are already looking at how a guaranteed income for everyone might work. In the USA and other countries such as Germany, we have already seen people receiving money for not working. These payments are designed to help people during the Covid-19 “pandemic.” The checks are called Stimulus Payments, but it is unlikely that they stimulate anyone to work. They are doing just the opposite. The unemployed stay unemployed as long as they are receiving the free money, but how long will this continue, and will the concept carry over to people whose job was given to a robot? That’s a very important question.
Once a robot displaces a person from his or her job, how will that person live? Under the current system, one must work to get money to eat, pay bills and pay for the other things that constitute living in our modern world. Once there is no work and no pay, what happens then?
Some people understand that sooner or later, robots will replace them. That is probably still several years off, but when that happens, will the displaced worker still be compensated? Does this scenario sound like a fairy tale? Maybe, but not so fast. In some circles, this type of guaranteed income is being considered.
Have the Covid stimulus payments already provided us proof of concept? The virus lock-downs forced millions of people to suddenly be without a job. That includes small business owners as well. The government shelled out Billions of dollars to millions of people. What was the source of that money? This article is about robots, not economics, but the short answer is the folks in charge simply cranked up the printing presses and printed the money they needed to pay the masses. Yes, Virginia, they can do that!
Understand that sooner or later, robots will replace some humans. When that happens, will the displaced worker still be compensated? Does that sound like a fairy tale? Maybe, but not so fast. In some circles, this type of guaranteed income has been considered. Once a robot displaces a person from his or her job, how will that person live? Under the current system, one must work to earn money to eat, pay bills and buy the things that constitute living in our modern world. If there is no work and no pay, what happens then?
Have you given any thought to what you would do if you did not have an income? Without money, an individual or a family faces a dicey future that might even end in premature death. That is a harsh reality, but some influential people believe the planet is exceedingly overpopulated. Consequently, they feel the need to reduce the number of people drawing on the planet’s finite resources. Can that be true? Some say that it is, and that’s scary, but the process of thinning the herd might already be underway. CLICK HERE.
To truly understand what is afoot, we must now enter what some would call Conspiracy Land to examine what’s lurking there. There are many theories, but I want to focus on what I believe is the number one hard-to-believe scenario.
Once robots become perfected, especially the android human-looking artificially intelligent versions, the need for a carbon-based life that consumes food, water, air, and other resources is no longer high on the priority list. That is not a pleasant thought. We are constantly hearing that food and water are getting more scarce now than at any other time in history. Climate change combined with a burgeoning population will eventually reach a tipping point. That is when there will not be enough precious commodities for everyone. At that point who decides how things are to be shared?To view my post on the vanishing Lake Oroville CLICK HERE.
Some people take comfort in the fact that the powers that be, the wealthy self-serving elites that run things, are also human, and they too would suffer from a calamity. Really? Not so fast Red Ryder. Remember the artificially intelligent human-like robots I told you about? Once they achieve a certain level of development, it is, point, set, and match in favor of the robots. The air-breathing resource-consuming human population will become expendable. Well, what about the elites? They are people too, I believe, and they will need the aforementioned, food, air, and water as well. True but they have an insurance policy.
Years ago, the wealthy elite bought their insurance policies. They built luxury underground facilities. New Zealand seems to be the location of choice. Other wealthy elites are making plans to live on privately owned islands.The USA has reportedly built several Deep Underground Military Bases or D.U.M.B.sThe United States government built underground facilities for the survival of the President and the congress in case of a nuclear war or another catastrophe. Some of these are literally small cities.Russia has a giant facility under Moscow, and recently they held a drill to see how fast people could get into it. To see some underground installations CLICK HERE.
There is evidence that a human-caused virus or some natural calamity is coming to wipe out the billions of “useless eaters.” When that event arrives, the elite and other selected people will retreat into their prefabricated survival bunkers. The rest of the population will be left to survive, or not survive by their own devices. Young, healthy people or anyone prepared for the coming calamity have a better chance to survive.
Now it is time to connect the dots. Some public pronouncements along with published or leaked documents prove that the elite wants the planet for themselves. They seem unconcerned about the survival of the “unwashed masses.” A harsh reality for sure.
Technology has already advanced to the point where people can live underground and live well. They can have all the necessary comforts without having things like hurricanes, tornadoes, civil unrest, and those annoying civil liberty laws that keep getting in the way of those who wish to rule. They won’t need human servants because they will have their Artificially Intelligence personal robots to attend to their every need. Is that a real possibility, or is it just a fairy-tale? Time will tell, but at this point, it seems there will come a day when it is possible.
Now it is time to connect the dots. Some public pronouncements along with published or leaked documents prove that a group wants the planet for themselves. They seem unconcerned about the survival of the “unwashed masses.” A harsh reality for sure.
If somewhere along the way I lost you, don’t worry. The videos that are part of this document will provide a complete picture. I will present a Part-2 with more information, so for now, believe it or not, like it or not, artificially intelligent robots are coming. That is no longer in doubt. The point of debate is on the timing of the transformation. The year 2050 is often the prime candidate for that, but now some in the industry are saying it might be as soon as 2030. That is only eight and a half years away! It is doubtful that I will be alive in 2050, but I could be living in 2030. That makes the possibility of a robotic world for me more interesting to contemplate.
Watching the incredibly rapid development of robotsis like a spectator sport. Unfortunately, when it comes to Robots not many people are unaware of what is happening. They cannot connect the dots to see the future. Maybe I have helped you shine a light on the emerging technology and helped you to understand that someday robots will play a significant role in our society.
Hundreds of videos about robots and Artificial Intelligence are available on the Internet. You could literally spend all day watching them and never see them all. I will let you do a web search for the ones that interest you, but I will start you off with a few to give a peek at what is out there.
Obviously, there is not much publicly available information concerning the Deep Underground military bases (D.U.M.B.s) or the elite shelters. Unfortunately due to the recent policy changes of YouTube, the links that I had bookmarked in the past no longer work. They have been expunged. However, I did find one source that has some information and photos. CLICK HERE to see some underground installations.
If you seek more information then do a web search for Deep Underground Military Bases.
A good-sized asteroid will pass by Earth on Saturday, August 21, 2021. There is no danger it will strike our planet. It’s been designated as asteroid 2016 AJ193. It’s estimated to be just under a mile wide (1.4 km wide). And it’s moving fast. It’s traveling at 58,538 miles per hour (94,208 km/h) relative to Earth. That’s about 16 miles per second (26.17 km per second). The closest approach to Earth will occur on August 21, 2021, at 11:10 a.m. ET (15:10 UTC). This means the best opportunity for amateur astronomers to try to see this asteroid glide by will be early on August 21, just hours before sunrise. See the full story. Click Here
For as long as people have existed, curiosity about the lights in the night sky has also existed. Early humans looked up and pondered the purpose of the billions of lights but had no hope of understanding what the lights represented. They did not even have the concept of space travel. However, ancient stone tablets and other archaeological artifacts suggest they had contact with beings from one or more of those lights in the sky.
Stories of beings that came from the sky to help or sometimes enslave early humans persist in our history and mythology. They tell of beings that came from the lights and brought with them technological wonders and great power. The ancient peoples were in awe of this and no doubt confused at what they were seeing. Their attempts at explaining what they saw were for years hard to decode until our level of technology evolved to allow some of the pieces to fall into place.
The stories of what transpired back then are usually considered myths. They sometimes include the reaction of early humans to the superior beings that came from the sky. Ancient humans respected and feared the power possessed by the beings who came from the heavens. This form of respect and worship later evolved into the religions that we have today.
When it comes to technology, we have come a long way since our distant ancestors roamed the earth. The bulk of our technology has only occurred since 1900 and it is accelerating at a rapid rate. Today, we know much more about the universe in which we live, but the wonderment of the lights in the sky continues. Thankfully advances in astronomy are constantly being made that allow us to comprehend just what is out there.
Humankind may be unraveling the mystery of the lights in the sky but perfecting a craft that can take us to those lights is still many years away. It is a good bet that I will not live to that day, but I might live to see the day where some of my fellow earthlings embark on a journey to a planet or a moon other than our own. Mars is the current best choice.
Centuries have now passed since the ancient gods inhabited the planet. It would be interesting to know why they left. During World War II, a significant event occurred for humankind that marked a new beginning for earth-bound humans that could someday allow us to visit them on their home planet.
In the early 1940s, German engineers created a rocket called the V2. Its primary mission was as a weapon of war to destroy enemies at a distance. After the war, it became the key to allow the human race to escape gravity and head into space. We have not yet ventured very far from mother earth, but our baby steps are now turning into bigger steps that will allow us to eventually set out on a journey to the lights in the sky.
So far our space adventures have only been as far as the moon. Our robotic probes have traveled greater distances with one now billions and billions of miles into the cosmos. Until recently, space exploration has come only from governments that could afford to finance the enormous cost involved. maybe that could change?
Strictly speaking, the effort to put a man on the moon was the true beginning of humans venturing into space. That was of course a government undertaking motivated by military necessity but cloaked in the veil of civilian space exploration. No matter what the reason, the need to ensure that the USA was not be left behind in the space race was served. But once we landed on the moon and scared the pants off our enemies the push to space cooled down. It soon ended without a commitment to the next logical step. That left a vacuum, and as Aristotle quite rightly explained, Nature abhors a vacuum.
To fill that vacuum, in 2004 a talented group of people came together in Mojave California to create a project to send civilians into space. Something called the Ansari X-prize motivated them to build a spacecraft to fly to the edge of space and win the 10 million dollar prize. By cosmic standards, this was just a baby step, nonetheless quite significant. I had the good fortune to be there on that momentous day to watch the first non-government space launch that signaled the beginning of a new race to space. I made a video of the event that day in 2004 when Sir Richard Branson saw what Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, and Aeronautical Engineer Burt Rutan created. It was not long before he announced that he would create a new spaceship company called Virgin Galactic to become the space component of his stable of products and services with the Virgin name. There were already Virgin Records, Virgin Airlines, and Virgin Phone services. Now 17 years later Virgin Galactic Spaceways takes its place alongside the other Virgins.
On July 12th, 2021 The Virgin Galactic spacecraft took six people to the edge of space in the first civilian passenger flight. Sir Richard’s dream came true. Soon a robust series of many more flights will follow. These first flights will be more like a carnival ride than anything to do with space exploration. Virgin Galactic reports that over 600 people paid $250,000 apiece for the privilege of taking a one-hour ride to the edge of space and back to earth. That is a lot of money for a flight with no food service–not even a bag of peanuts.
Compared to the NASA flights to the moon, a suborbital flight might seem somewhat insignificant, but it is not. It is a grand achievement on several levels. In addition to paving the way for future space endeavors, civilian space flight is also opening the door to some real-world applications.
The Virgin Galactic flight classified as suborbital means that it did not go into orbit around the earth. It only went up to near space. Offering only a few minutes of zero gravity, the flight glided back to the point of departure. There is an ongoing debate whether it went to space. The debate is fueled by the two men, Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos because they continue to trade good-natured barbs about who has the best flight concept. As I write this the flight of the Jeff Bezos Blue Horizon spaceship is just hours away. Sir Richard Branson’s spaceship already went to the edge of space, which is generally recognized as starting at 62 statute miles above the planet. If this space flight was compared to a ship going to sea, it would be akin to wading ankle-deep into the water then announcing that you went to sea. Nevertheless, it is a true technical achievement and a significant milestone for humankind, but is all this just about taking a joy ride into space?
In the near term, a few more of the Virgin Galactic flights will grab the attention of the press and fascinate the public, but at some point, the flights will become commonplace and fall off the front page. Nevertheless, before the echoes of the flights have faded, other companies might join Virgin Galactic and Blue Horizon to generate their front-page news. That will not matter because the future of the suborbital flights has nothing to do with reaching for the stars, so just like our distant relatives, the early humans, we are still looking at the sky with wonder. Albeit we do however have better viewing devices.
If the flights are not about going to the stars, then what are they about? Well, do you need to fly from Los Angles to Australia? Today, the fastest airliner in service takes 15 to 16 hours to travel from the USA to Australia or various other locations in the region. When you go, be sure to take one of the flights that offer fully reclining seats that turn into a bed. But what if you had the option of making that journey in just a couple of hours? Would that not be an attractive option? Yes, it would, and that is why Sir Richard wants to perfect the suborbital flight environment.
It may turn out that what is required for the two-hour flight to become a reality is a cross between suborbital and orbital flight. What would that even be? With the maiden flight of Virgin Galactic, we witnessed the forerunner for that concept. It is not too difficult to understand the concept, but I have no idea what it will ultimately require to make it work as a commercial enterprise, I do know that the tickets must cost far less than the current $250.000 per seat because even first-class travelers would not want to pay anything close to that price.
I was happy to see Sir Richard accomplish his goal. He might have been a few thousand feet short of passing some arbitrary line in the sky, but his flight ushered in a new era for humankind. Had Unity’s pilots kept the engine on for just a few more seconds, it would have easily reached the target altitude. I suspect that they fell a bit short because they did not account for the extra weight of the additional passengers when determining burn time for the engine. No doubt they have already discussed that situation and the next flight will prove that Unity can go higher. I hope that next time when he is giving praise to those who helped him he will include Paul Allen and Burt Rutan. Without them, his flight would have never happened.
Will other countries find a billionaire to jump into the suborbital game? The civilian space effort would be better if they could. However, without a near-term payback, the entry fee might be unattractive even for the rich guys.
No matter what is in store for the future of the civilian space initiatives, we can still look to NASA to fund the esoteric (costly) space exploration projects. We should also keep an eye on China to see the real competition in space exploration hiding in plain sight. They have already been to the moon and have a robust space exploration schedule that no doubt rivals the USA. The sad part for me is that even with no setbacks, and no hiccups, the point at which humankind will finally be ready to venture to the stars will be too distant for me. In the meantime, like my ancestors, I look at the sky with amazement. I use my mind to conjure up visions of what might exist on a planet orbiting one of those lights in the night sky.
It is now less than 12 hours before Blue Horizon will soar to the edge of space. Once that happens, Jeff Bezos will have put the frosting on the civilian space cake and the undeclared civilian space race will be underway.
Update: The Blue Origin flight was a complete success. It was fun to watch but for something so technically demanding it seemed commonplace. In a moment of glory years of preparation paid off. Now two civilian companies have gone to the edge of space. A true accomplishment, and from this day forward the flights might seem like a normal part of our lives. The next milestone is to put paying passengers on the moon and to begin the colonization of Mars.I look forward to that.
Mustang Sally, I guess you better slow your mustang down You’ve been running all over the town now… –Song Mustang Sally by Wilson Pickett (link to the song at the end of the article)
Well now Mustang Sally, forget what Wilson is sayin’. You better Speed Your Mustang up or you gonna be in serious trouble girl!
Sally Connors had been working at the Carlsbad Airport for three years and even though she was only fourteen years old, she knew more about flying than pilots much older than herself. She had been taking flight training lessons since she was thirteen and planned on flying solo when she turned sixteen and getting her pilot’s license when she became eligible on her seventeenth birthday. Sally first saw an airplane up close on her fifth birthday at the San Diego Airport and has been consumed by anything aeronautical ever since. She read everything she could find about female pilots which included; Amelia Earhart, Harriet Quimbey, Pancho Barnes, Bessie Coleman, Amy Johnson, Jacqueline Cochran, and Willa Brown among others.
Her job chores at the small North County airport included walking the runway every morning at sunrise to make sure that it was completely clear of debris, running errands for pilots, washing down aircraft, and various janitorial services. Sally would do any task without complaint or hesitation as long as she was able to be around airplanes. If she was lucky, one of the local pilots would take her up for a ride and if Sally was really lucky, the pilot would give her temporary control of the aircraft.
It was May 16, 1980, and the airport was preparing for the Memorial Day air show. The main attraction was going to be James Stewart, actor, pilot, and World War II hero. He was going to fly his vintage P-51 Mustang fighter down from Los Angeles and perform at the show. Sally could hardly contain her excitement as she familiarized herself with the P-51 and James Stewart’s flying history. She even compiled a list of questions to ask the iconic actor and familiarized herself with the development of the legendary airplane. To most people it was just boring details, but not to Sally who found it captivating; The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang was an American long-range, single-seat fighter and fighter-bomber used during World War II and the Korean War, among other conflicts. The Mustang was designed in 1940 by North American Aviation. The Mustang was originally designed to use the Allison V-1710 engine, which, in its earlier variants, had limited high-altitude performance. It was first flown operationally by the RAF as a tactical-reconnaissance aircraft and fighter-bomber. The replacement of the Allison with a Rolls-Royce Merlin resulted in the P-51B/C model and transformed the Mustang’s performance at altitudes above 15,000 feet, allowing the aircraft to compete with the Luftwaffe’s fighters. The definitive version, the P-51D, was powered by the Packard V-1650-7, a license-built version of the Rolls-Royce Merlin 66 two-stage two-speed supercharged engine and was armed with six .50 caliber M2/AN Browning machine guns.
James Stewart’s wartime P-51 Mustang was modified to civilian use by adding a taller tailfin, wingtip tanks, and a tight second seat that was placed in the space formerly occupied by the military radio and fuselage fuel tank. The real coincidence of the situation was that he named his plane, ‘Mustang Sally’ not after Sally Connors, but after his granddaughter, Sally, the second child of his daughter Kelly.
Memorial Day could not come fast enough for the precocious teenager and in the week prior to the holiday, Sally was at the small airport by the crack of dawn to do her assigned chores before heading off to school. When class was out, she rushed back to the airport, worked for two more hours then biked home before nightfall. Her father, Bill was a former Army Ranger and World War II veteran and encouraged his only child to pursue her dreams, and even though he was concerned for her safety, he knew that trying to restraint her would be a serious error in parenting.
His wife Margaret wanted a more traditional life for her free-spirited daughter, “She is so focused on flying that I’m worried she is missing out on other activities,” Margaret said.
“She gets good grades, is involved in sports, doesn’t do drugs or cause trouble,” Bill said, “Most parents would be thanking their lucky stars for a daughter like ours. Maybe we should support what she is, instead of wishing that she was somebody else.”
“When you put it that way,” Margaret smiled.
It was May 24th when one of Sally’s friends, Shannon approached her as she was leaving school, “What are you doing for Memorial Day weekend…a bunch of us are going to the beach.”
“I’ll be working at the air show,” Sally responded.
“You’re always at the airport!” Shannon snapped back.
“James Stewart is coming in,” Sally responded.
“Seriously, Shannon, you don’t know who James Stewart is?” Sally responded in amazement, “He’s coming with his Mustang.”
‘Big deal, my brother has a Camaro.”
“P-51 Mustang…never mind,” Sally shook her head and walked off.
Sally asked Andy Howard, the airport manager every day if James Stewart was still coming to the air show, “How many times are you going to ask me that question?”
“I just want to be sure,” Sally flashed an impish grin.
“You’ll be the first one I tell if anything changes,” Andy promised.
It was Sunday, twenty-four hours and counting to the Memorial Day show and Sally was up before dawn. Her father was already in the kitchen when she walked down the stairs.
“Do I need to ask where you are going today?” Andy asked.
“You don’t need to, but I’m happy to tell you anyway,” Sally smiled.
“I hope you’re not expecting too much from James Stewart,” Andy cautioned his daughter.
“What do you mean?”
“He’s a famous actor and a lot of people are going to want to talk to him. His time is limited and he’ll be in his plane, then he’ll probably be gone,” Andy explained, “What I’m trying to say is that he might have not had as much time to spend with you as you would like.”
“I considered that possibility already, so I plan to be at the airport when Mr. Stewart arrives and I’m staying there until he leaves. If I see my opportunity then I’ll take it, and if I don’t then I also realize that life is full is of disappointments, this will just be one of them. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try, does it?”
“How old did you say you were?” Andy smiled and was obviously impressed by his daughter’s grasp of the situation.
“Remember one thing, I’ll never be old enough to stop having breakfast with the best dad in the world,” Sally leaned over and kissed her father on the cheek.
It was almost 1400 hours on the Sunday before Memorial Day when one of the airport workers turned to Sally, “Everything is done, why don’t you go home.”
Before Sally could answer, she heard something in the distance and listened more closely,” Hear that?”
“Hear what?” The airport worker responded.
Sally took off in a full sprint for the airport tower and ran up the stairs, found a pair of binoculars, and looked to the west. Suddenly there was a radio transmission, “Carlsbad, this Mustang HO624J requesting permission to land.”
The tower operator was not there, since no incoming aircraft was scheduled for take-off or landing. It only took Sally a second to realize what needed to be done, so she picked up the radio, “Mustang, this is Carlsbad, you are clear for landing, approach from the east, crosswinds six to seven knots, visibility clear.”
“Affirmative,” came the distinctive voice of the pilot.
As Sally rushed out to meet the aircraft, she bumped into Ben Littlefield, the tower operator, and almost knocked him over, “What’s going on?”
“We have a plane landing,” Sally replied as she kept running.
“Nobody told me.”
“It is James Stewart!”
Sally knew the sound of every aircraft that flew regularly into Carlsbad Airport, but nothing sounded like the high-pitched whine that grew ever louder until the afternoon sun reflected off the silver fuselage of the P-51 Mustang that quickly came into view. It was like a sliver of light as it sliced through the skies and then landed so softly that it barely seemed to touch the pavement before it taxied to the hangar area. Sally guided the Mustang to an area that had been reserved especially for it. It dwarfed the Pipers and Cessnas that were parked nearby.
James Stewart opened the cockpit and stepped out, he was an older man, his hair was gray and tousled and had the style of several generations earlier. His flight jacket was faded brown, creased, and worn and the American flag was prominently sewn to the right shoulder. There were also several other squadron emblems on it as well.
As soon as James Stewart’s feet touched the tarmac, Sally said with utmost enthusiasm, “Welcome to Carlsbad, Mr. Stewart, my name is Sally Connors and I’m here to help you in any way that you need.”
“Did you say that your name is Sally?” James Stewart asked, “I like that name,” and gestured to writing on the plane, Mustang Sally, “my granddaughter is named Sally.”
“We weren’t expecting you until tomorrow, sir,” Sally said.
“Call me Jimmy, I was planning on leaving in the morning, but it was supposed to be overcast with light drizzle until early afternoon, so I thought to myself, what would I’d rather do; take a nice ride along the coast in the sun today or fly in the ‘May Gray’ tomorrow.”
“I’m glad you chose today,” Sally smiled.
“I’ve booked a room at the Carlsbad Inn so I’ll need a cab to take me there,” James Stewart said.
All of a sudden, a thought flashed through Sally’s mind, “Why don’t you stay at my home?”
“Thank you, Sally, but I’ve already made my reservation,” James Stewart replied.
My dad was in the 82nd Airborne, the ‘All American Division’ and served in World War II, the same time as you. My mom and dad are big fans of yours, me too of course. Please, Mr. Stewart, we’ve got a great guest room and it’s a lot better than a hotel. My mom is a really good cook and she’ll make you anything you want.”
James Stewart hated to tell the young girl no, “Do your parents allow you to invite strange men to your home?”
“You’re not a strange man, you are James Stewart!” Sally was exuberant.
“Call your parents and see what they say.”
Bill Connors was in his car and on his way to the Carlsbad airport in less than two minutes, once he got his daughter’s phone call.
Bill Connors and James Stewart shared stories about their military service and like most men of the ‘Greatest Generation’ they only spoke in generalities while choosing to ignore the horrors of war that they experienced. Sally was riveted by their conversation and when her father was done speaking; she began asking James Stewart technical questions about the many aircraft that he had flown in his life.
Three hours later, Margaret Connors intervened, “Mr. Stewart has a busy day ahead of him tomorrow, why don’t you let him get some sleep.”
“I’m sorry Mr. Stewart, I didn’t mean to ramble on,” Sally apologized.
“It has been my pleasure to talk to a young person that is so passionate about flying.”
On Memorial Day, the gray clouds were heavy and dark and there was a collective sense of disappointment from the people at the airport that they would not burn off in time for the air show. James Stewart methodically went through his pre-flight check as Sally watched every one of his movements and committed them to memory. He handed Sally a fire extinguisher with specific and simple instructions, “If you see a fire, put it out.”
“Affirmative,” Sally responded, “You can count on me.”
James Stewart climbed into the cockpit and gave the thumbs up. The air around the exhaust manifolds shimmered like a mirror from fuel fumes as the huge prop started to rotate. One manifold, then another barked, several people, backed up, but Sally stood her ground mesmerized by the sound. The Packard-built Merlin engine came to life with a thunderous roar and blue flames knifed from the manifolds with an arrogant impatient snarl. It was as if the heavens were listening, for as soon as the P-51 Mustang began to taxi, the skies began to clear. By the time James Stewart reached the end of the runway, the skies directly above the airport were bright blue and the sun focused its attention on the Mustang. Like a banshee freed from a hellish prison, the plane shot upward, swallowing altitude like a voracious predator.
James Stewart made several passes over the field, the last one in the inverted position and only fifty feet above the ground tearing the air to shreds at 500 mph, the wingtips of the P-51 spilling contrails of condensed air. It glistened, screamed and the buildings shook. The anticipation of waiting for James Stewart to arrive paled in comparison to the reality of these glorious moments. Sally’s emotions were coursing through every fiber of her being and she didn’t know whether to laugh, cry or scream in jubilation.
Over the next three years, James Stewart kept in touch with Sally. His P-51 Mustang was hangered at the Santa Monica airport and whenever he was taking it up, he called to see if Sally wanted to take a ride. Andy would drive his daughter up Interstate Five and wait until they were finished then returned to Carlsbad. At the age of sixteen, the actor allowed Sally to fly solo.
After graduation from high school, Retired Air Force General James Stewart and Congressman Ron Packard recommended Sally Connors for admittance to the Air Force Academy. In her first military deployment with the 76th Tactical Fighter Squadron Sally flew 611 sorties in her A-10 Thunderbolt during the Desert Storm campaign which lasted from August 1990 to February 1991. She was later assigned to an F-16 fighter jet squadron in 1994 and was stationed at Aviano Airbase in Italy. While there, she received the bad news that James Stewart passed away on July 2, 1997. She was given emergency leave to attend the funeral and when she returned to California, she was informed that his P-51 Mustang had been left to her. As the first actor in Hollywood to serve in World War II was being laid to rest, Sally flew 10,000 feet above the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California, and wrote Jimmy across the clear blue sky.
Later in her career, Sally flew with the Air Force Thunderbirds air demonstration squadron and later was accepted into the program to fly the SR-71 Blackbird stealth fighter. This plane can attain speeds over Mach 3 (2300 mph) and reach altitudes of 80,000 feet. There were times when Sally was flying on the outer reaches of the wild blue yonder that she could swear that he saw the face and heard the voice of James Stewart echoing down from the heavens, voicing his approval.
Sally remained on active duty for twenty-five years and reached the rank of Colonel before transferring from active duty to a reserve unit at Edwards Air Force base. She was promoted to Brigadier General, the same rank that her mentor and role model, James Stewart held at the time of his retirement from the Air Force. Sally became a test pilot for several aircraft manufacturers, and as a hobby began entering Red Bull air races. She won enough times to become the number one pilot on the tour. Throughout her entire career, Sally used ‘Mustang’ as her call sign. Most people thought she came up with it because of her name, she just let them go on thinking that was the answer.
It was May 28, 2018, and Sally was asked to perform at the Memorial Day air show at the Carlsbad airport, something she had done on numerous occasions whenever her military commitment did not prevent her attendance. Her P-51 Mustang was already hangered there and she was living in Bressi Ranch, a nearby neighborhood because she loved living close to the airport where everything started for her.
She made a few modifications to the P-51 Mustang for racing, but the most noticeable one was the writing on both sides of the tail fin, Jimmy. When asked about it, Sally responded simply, “Whenever I fly, I know that Jimmy is right there with me.”
Memorial Day weekend was her favorite holiday and it held special significance to General Sally Connors for several reasons; it gave her the privilege to honor the men and women and their dedication, sacrifice, and devotion to duty in service of our country. These patriotic Americans are always willing to go into harm’s way on hostile lands or into dangerous skies and make the ultimate sacrifice if need be so that others can enjoy the precious gifts of liberty and freedom. It was also when she met James Stewart for the first time, but there was also something unexplainable, spiritual, and surreal that happened to her this weekend.
Sally taxied to the end of the runway and saw the vague image of James Stewart in the glass canopy and heard his distinctive voice; “Mustang Sally, you better speed your Mustang up.”
“Roger that,” Sally pushed the throttle lever down and raced to the heavens to play among the angels.
The End–Thomas Calabrese
To see a special six minute feature video of Jimmy Stewart…CLICK HERE.
Wow! Did you watch the longest-running space flight commercial message in history? You might know it as the Internet event showcasing the first passenger-carrying flight by Virgin Galactic.Sir Richard Branson created Virgin Galactic to take people to the edge of space. The spaceship company joins his other established companies starting with the word Virgin.
The broadcast was interesting, but sometimes it was more like an elaborate commercial for Virgin Galactic Airlines. At times Technical glitches did not allow us to see the action so the well-rehearsed talking heads turned the proceedings into a giant commercial message. Maybe that was the plan all along? That would not be surprising because Virgin Galactic is a COMMERCIAL space venture, and blowing one’s horn about one’s product is a smart move. The flight might have fallen short of the altitude goal, but it was a true milestone in human history and worthy of all the pomp and ceremony.
Virgin Galactic is currently taking very wealthy folks on Disneyland style “E” Ticket Rides while looking to the future in developing an exotic airline that will whisk people from the USA to Australia in two or three hours. I hope that they succeed.
Some folks labeled the flight as the beginnings of humankind reaching for the stars. Give me a break. A spacecraft as slow as Unity would take several generations to travel to the nearest star. The flight did not even reach the planned altitude, so stop with the grandiose superlatives.
Space ship Unity does have the capability to attain the necessary altitude to qualify as a space flight, but the additional weight of the passengers will require the engine burn to be longer. I suspect that the pilot shut down the engine based on previous flights with less weight. Simple physics tells us that could have been a factor. I will wait and see what they report was the official reason.
No matter what the reason for falling a bit short of the planned altitude, there is still an open question and an interesting “give-and-take” between Sir Richard and Jeff Bezos as to how high one must fly to enter “space.” Bezos says Branson didn’t make it. NASA has assigned the official altitude of space as 54 nautical miles. That is 62 statute miles, or 330,000 feet above mean sea level. Then there is also the accepted standard called the Kármán line. Click Here to read about that.
The pomp and circumstance of the launch and the flight was quite an extravaganza, but parts of it left me wanting. It should have used a split-screen concept. Spaceship Unity and the mother ship renamed Eve after Sir Richard’s recently deceased mother should have always been in view on the screen. (We have the technology!) Every SpaceX launch uses multiple or split screens. One can see every aspect of the flight happening in real-time. That makes the experience more exciting and educational. Right on Elon!
As lacking as the coverage issue was, the thing that frustrated me the most was when the coverage devolved into a rock concert that seemed to go on longer than the space flight. I tuned in to watch a space flight only to find out that I had to endure what seemed like a forever stage presentation by a Grammy Award Winning artist no less. Well, excuse me! I never even heard of him. I understand that musical tastes vary. Realistically the full implementation of the Virgin Galactic Airline commercial venture will probably mature after I have sprouted wings and I am floating around the clouds playing the harp. (Great visual eh?) The stage presentation was more a case of too long a duration and not necessarily the musical selection. No matter, for me, it detracted from the flight. Whew, I had to get that off my chest. Thanks for listening.
Several positive offerings made the presentation a special event. One bright spot that stood out was the participation of a real astronaut by the name of Chris Hatfield. His achievements in space have made him a legend. He is larger than life but seemingly as down to earth as anyone can be. Having him as part of the broadcast team was brilliant. Canada should be proud of one of its own. I would welcome the chance to meet him in person.
Speaking of meeting someone in person, I have on two occasions met Sir Richard. Yes, I am a name-dropper, so get used to it, but seriously I want to give credit where credit is due. In both encounters, Sir Richard was courteous and congenial to me and my business partner. This charm combined with his business acumen leaves little doubt why he is so successful, but his journey was not always roses and lollypops. Along the way to making his space company a success, he faced several challenges. One of them was a sad occurrence. He had a major setback when a test flight resulted in the death of one pilot and serious injuries to the other one. However, even despite the accident, Richard persevered. The historic passenger-carrying flight is a testament to his courage and determination. Click Here for the crash story.
As always, the mainstream press dutifully regurgitated the details of what took place. Thank God for press kits. Some news outlets did make it interesting, but others were boring as hell. I think I will vomit if I hear one more broadcaster announce that they would willingly go on a future mission if only their wife would let them. Please, let’s get real, shall we? Some of those talking heads would NOT go even if their wife paid for them to go. Then there are the wives who would pay for a one-way trip. I prefer not to address that issue here.
During my research, I discovered a YouTube presentation that explains the details of the Unity spacecraft flight. It also compares Sir Richard’s project with Jeff Bezos’s approach to suborbital flight. Interestingly, the two billionaires have a very different approach to suborbital space flight. This is showcased in a video produced by Tim Dodd, known on the internet as The Everyday Astronaut. I thoroughly enjoyed watching it and highly recommend it to anyone who wants to understand everything relating to the current state of the civilian space program in greater depth. He shows how everything works.A link to this fine video is at the end of this article.
My personal belief is that Virgin Galactic has the better approach toward developing rapid near-earth sub-orbital travel. However, the approach taken by Jeff Bezos is better suited to transition into orbital offerings. I bet that is where his ultimate focus lies. The third member of the Billionaire Space Club, Elon Musk, is concentrating on leaving the planet. He has his sights firmly fixed on Mars. That mission excites me the most but taken together, this triad of very wealthy men is creating a desirable future for the dwellers of planet earth. Once the Disneyland aspect of these flights settles down, there will follow an evolution toward the day when the various offerings could serve the whole of humanity. –Jim
SOMETHING SPECIAL: If you want to own a piece of history my Mojave Magic DVD shows the genesis of the civilian space effort and the very beginning of Richard Branson’s Project. It is a personal look at how it all began. I still have some DVDs in stock, so for a limited time, you could own a piece of history. Watch online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05fiRTI0CEE
To own a historic Mojave Magic DVD, leave me a message in the LEAVE A REPLY field below.
Read more about my experience with the space program HERE.
1. You may have to live with Covid-19 for months or maybe years, but don’t be scared. Do not let it ruin your life. Learn to live with reality.
2. There are no medicines that can destroy the Covid-19 virus once it has already traversed cellular walls.
3. Wash your hands and maintain a physical distance from other people. That is the best protection method.
4. If, at home, and you do not have a Covid-19 patient, you do not need to disinfect your home.
5. Supermarket bags and/or plastic bags, service stations, shopping carts, and ATMs do not cause infections. However, wash your hands often and live your life as usual.
6. Covid-19 is not a food infection. It is associated with infectious droplets such as influenza, there is no proof that Covid-19 is transmitted by food.
7. If you use any anti-allergy medicines or suffer from viral infections, you may lose your sense of smell, these are nonspecific symptoms of Covid-19.
8. When you come home, you do not need to change clothes or immediately shower. Cleaning is a virtue, not paranoia.
9. The Covid-19 virus does not travel far by air. It is a respiratory infection that requires close contact between people to replicate.
10. The air is clean, you can walk through parks and public places. Simply keep your physical distance from other people to protect yourself. The park will not infect you.
11. Only use common soap against Covid-19. It does not need antibacterial soap to kill it. It is a virus, not a bacterium. Regular soap is perfect to use against the virus.
12. You do not have to worry about restaurant food orders. But if it makes you feel better then you can heat everything in the microwave.
13. The possibility of bringing the Covid-19 home on your shoes is about the same as getting struck by lightning twice in a single day. I have worked against viruses for 20 years and I can verify that drop infections do not spread on shoes.
14. You cannot be protected from viruses by consuming vinegar, sugar cane juice, or ginger. It is only by immunity, and not by questionable substances that you will be protected. [Despite the claims of the WHO and the endless propaganda on TV, it has not been proven that ANY (so-called) vaccine provides immunity, so eat healthily and take vitamins. The basic ones are vitamin C, and D3, as well as Zinc, and melatonin.]
15. The use of a mask for a long time interferes with your breathing and drastically reduces oxygen levels. Only use a mask in crowded places or where required by local law to enter a public building.
16. Wearing gloves is also a bad idea; The virus can accumulate in the gloves and transmit easily if you touch your face. It is better to wash your hands regularly than to ever wear gloves.
17. The immune system weakens when you live in a sterile environment, even if you are taking supplements and/or medications that stimulate your immune system. It is best to eat healthily and go regularly to the park and/or beach or any other outdoor place. That will help build immunity. Immunity increases with exposure to pathogens, not when sitting at home and consuming fried and/or spicy foods and sweet drinks. [I have to work on that one. LOL]
I translated this text from a Spanish language source that presented the writings of Dr. Yohan Faheem, the head of the medical group that deals with infectious diseases at the University of Maryland, USA. I believe the information to be correct, and it could have come from any competent medical source. Where some clarity was needed I added a couple of comments between brackets [like this.]
Now that you have read this interesting and useful article, you have a moral responsibility to share it with your family, friends, employment partners, acquaintances, and also with the people with whom you communicate daily. This should be done on your initiative, not by obligation, but willingly.
I live in Costa Rica. It never snows here, but we do have several volcanoes. Having a volcano in your backyard can sometimes be exciting especially when they say HELLO. The video below is from TODAY – June 28, 2021.