Archive for October, 2009

They are closing my high school.

It’s funny. I live 10 miles from yet another town called Cassville, and yet another school called Cass, in a completely different state. Somethings just come full circle.  I left home just to come back, I guess you could say.

I’m sure somehow it’s for a good purpose that they close my schools doors, and that lots of people will benefit. However, for myself the jarring fact remains that they are, indeed, closing my high school.

I can’t say my years were particularly pleasant there, but nor do I hold them any ill will. Such is the nature of youth in the education system, is my belief. But I experienced, as all youth does, trials and tribulations they committed to my make up today. I lived, loved, met, shook hands, and did things that caused me to make decisions later in life through those doors. I was never the “pimp daddy” or the most popular kid, but I wasn’t shunned either, and I got along with most folks I met. I also did some incredibly boneheaded things. Even now I shake my head in bewilderment and wonder “What the hell was I thinking?”

I also wasn’t the best socialite at the dance.

Perhaps I should really start at the beginning aye?

I was asked via Facebook, to attend a Alumni night at my High School. The invitiation for me, was as a Marching Band Alumni. I was asked to join the current group of students and play through the night with them at our Homecoming football game this weekend.

I have never made it home for this type of events before, for some reason, I agreed.  It takes place tomorrow night.  I’ll be driving to Georgia tomorrow morning.

I have not touched a trumpet since my senior year of High School, almost 15 years ago. I had played from the time I was in 4th grade until I graduated.  I used to be a soloist. I used to play in DCI. In other words, I used to be pretty good. I was no Louis Armstrong, but I felt I played well.

On Monday we had rehearsal. I stared blankly at the page of music in front of me, and my fingers did not register the notes that my brain tried to comprehend. I was, in a word, pathetic.

During the rehearsal however, it was mentioned this was the last year for my school. I sat up dumbfounded and inquired of the Director just what did he mean?

The gong struck. The drum-roll began.

They had built a new school down the road in a city called White. When I was still here White was a place that could barely be called a town. It hosted a textile mill that I worked security in at night for a time, a gas station, a restaurant that catered to the mill, and a Elementary school. Congratulations, that was the big town of White. Now it was going to host a county High School?

You have to understand, I have not been back to White. So the proportions for me seemed out of whack. My Freshman class, almost 20 years ago, was 1,215 people. My graduating class was over 600.  In my addled brain, the freshman class at this new school would be the entire population of the city of White plus a few hundred.

Further my old school, technically isn’t old. It first graduated students in the 1970′s, so relatively speaking the building isn’t that old. Compare it to my Elementary school, which opened it’s doors in 1919 before finally shutting them down after I graduated high school. As a government building goes, it’s far from archaic.

All of these combine to me, to make up thoughts I was not prepared for.

As we left the band room and made our way to the Auditorium, we took the same route I had taken repeatedly years before. We stood on the stage and practiced again.

I had acted on this stage, played music, and sang. The colors were different, and it did not seem as large or as looming as it does in my memories of those days.

In our Junior year Calimus and I had rewired all of the stage lights for my mentor, Mr Armstrong. I was surprised to see many of those lights we had rebuilt were still in use, and functional. I guess we did good work. They won’t see any more history pass under their beams though.

It was here I earned a nickname I at first hated. Later I came to accept it. Now it more or less fits thanks to my rolling stone lifestyle. Freebird. I earned it for playing the redneck anthem during a White Christmas program.

I saw only 1 other person whom I recognized that night. A former color guard member. The others lost to me in a sea of years, and memories.

But still, they are closing my school.

No more shall Calimus and I slip out the back door to our cars and make a break for the local Chinese restaurant.  No more shall I play guitar with Mr. Armstrong playing fiddle, save to empty hallways.

Earl Cunningham Stadium, our school football field, will resound with our fight song one last time this year, the lights will go out, and all will be silent.

But at night when no one is around; the ghosts of those gone before us may still walk the halls. Jill, Stephen, and those others we lost while we lived on and moved on will look out dusty windows and wonder when the next group of youth shall pass through the doors, so they can tell them “We lived here, we went here, you can be somebody, you can succeed, look at our friends! Our Classmates!”

But they won’t come.

The teachers who have gone on as well, will hold class in empty rooms, in the dark and try to temper the minds of fiery youth who will not be there.

This Friday night I will be, however. And for the last time in my life I’ll take the field, and with classmates, and other alumni we’ll play our hearts out and try to roll the years back to those in the stands to the best of our ability.

And for just a little while, the school will resonate, as it should, and all will be right.

Still.

They are closing my school. Given my track record of not “being there” for events and people that haunts me greatly, I am glad I will not miss this.

I’ve been rather remiss in posting this.

As a child I used to often hear horror stories of the VA Hospital in Atlanta. It was often referred to as “The Butcher Shop”. I won’t lie and say that I know the reasons why, I was too young. However the image it portrayed to me was indelible and has stuck with me for many years.

I do not understand this push for government run healthcare.

Who runs Medicare? The Government.

Who runs Medicaid? The Government.

Who runs the VA Hospital System? The Government.

Do any of these system work? Not worth a damn, and the bureaucratic nonsense is sometimes outright unbelievable.

An excellent example.

While working in Little Rock, I injured my back. Easy to do after several years of military parachuting.  A good friend drove me to the VA Hospital in Little Rock because I physically could not move. He took me to the ER.

Was I seen immediately? No.

Was I placed in a waiting room to be seen? No.

I ended up being wheel chaired by my friend, across the length of the hospital to the Admissions office, where I then had to submit my ID. Then we went to another location where I then spent the next 45 minutes attempting to fill out multiple documents. Then I had to wait another 45 minutes while they proved that I was indeed who I was and that i was in the VA system.

Is all of this because I was not a member of the VA? Not at all. I have been seen regularly by the VA Hospital in Fayetteville for over four years.

It was because I had never been seen at that VA Hospital.

Three hours later I was allowed to go back to the ER and only then could I enter the waiting line to be seen.

This is an example of government ran health care.

This is what people are saying they want, because in essence they are lazy.

Why work for something, when you can beg for it so much easier? Why attempt to better yourself when it is so much simpler to sit on your couch and complain about it all?

Ireland is looking better all the time.

Working wide open this morning.
Fun.
Still tired from the drive in yesterday. Didn’t sleep much or very well last night at all.
Will have some better updates later today

Online meeting at 0800.

E-mail exchanges regarding steel pipe at 0900

Conference Call at 1400.

Doctors appointment at Noon to drive my mom too

Scheduled time with my daughter from 15:30 until dark

And I get to drive back to Nashville tommorow.

One day I’ll look back on all this and laugh. But not today.

I’m home still, and will be for a few days. Life has toned down to what passes for a dull roar at the moment. My mother has several appointments throughout the week.
I’m not very fond of Arkansas Doctors at this point. It seems like they do not do a good job. They kept my mother until Friday and then they ran 1 test, and released her immediately after, with no information and no clue as to what caused her problem.

In the meantime I’m home, I’m here, and trying to help with everything that I can. I am, however, also almost broke. Spent a large sum assisting with her doctor bills and just getting here. Fortunately this week is a pay week.

I should be able to drop some more lines as soon as I can,

They started a Heart Cath this morning. She failed a stress EKG miserably. The running goal is to see what the Heart Cath says at this point before they make a full blown determination.

They have confirmed they feel there is some type of heart disease but they are not positive what precisely. Hence the Cath.

Work is still wanting me to, well work, even while doing this. Trying to concentrate is difficult at best. Otherwise I juggle as much of it as I can. It’s not as cold as it sounds, my boss is fielding 90% of the other stuff at the moment but some things have to have my involvement to be completed.

Headed to hospital shortly. Going to grab a Mcbreakfast and a coffee en route.

My mom was put in the hospital last night about 18:00 in Rogers, AR. I left Nashville by 20:00 and arrived here at 04:00. Haven’t slept much. Blogging will be light.

She’s in the cardiac unit, and they are not for certain what is wrong yet. More details to come.

Working in the field that I do, there are certain things that catch your eye while in a area.

For me, currently being in Nashville. one of those is the historic WSM Broadcast tower.

WSM Broadcast Tower, Nashville, TN

WSM Broadcast Tower, Nashville, TN

The tower itself was brought in to service in October of 1932. The primary job of this behemoth?

To broadcast the Grand Ol Opry, the longest-running radio program in history, which began as the WSM Barn Dance in 1925. WSM played a major role in the history of American music and radio by broadcasting country music’s signature program over a huge area for decades.

At the time of it’s building, this tower was the tallest tower in America. Standing 878 feet high, it looms over the interstate as you drive by.

It’s still a record holder. Currently it’s the only clear channel Tower that still broadcasts music instead of a news/talk format of broadcast, which it has done since 1979.

AM Towers are built to be “tuned”. Their design attributes to both their frequency and their broadcast area.

Watt Hairston, CE of WSM wrote this regarding the tower:


Blaw-Knox dual cantilevered (center guyed towers). A.k.a. “diamond antenna”. WSM-AM tower I-65 and SANY0660Concord Road, Brentwood, TN.

Any tower structure exhibits many dynamics that result from gravity, wind and temperature cycles. These forces are constantly at work and result in movements vertically and horizontally of the structure. These movements (even slight) result in tremendous tensions where the structure attaches to a very rigid earth through its foundations. Most specifically the horizontal twisting that results, becomes a formidable “moment”. To compensate for this, either the strength of the structures lower components (where the moving tower meets the non-moving foundation) must be massive enough to compensate for this “moment” or attached to the foundation through a hinge mechanism in the form of a pivot. Thus the tapered base we see on most towers of significant length.


SANY0661With all this in mind we can reason that for a tower of the height of 808 feet the dynamics (movements) are integral to the mass of the structure. The higher the tower, the size and strength of the lower supports must grow at an un-proportionate rate. If this tower were not tapered, the lower supports (where this twisting moment couples to the foundation) would have to be so large as to make the project extremely costly to accomplish. In the case of AM towers that are electrically insulated from the ground, the problem is magnified because the tower has to rest on porcelain insulators that would be located at the transition to the foundation. The point of maximum force. In a pivot attachment, the moment is not critical because the tower can rotate on its base. This is why tower manufactures use this mechanism to this date. The WSM tower lower half is made up of larger steel members than the top section. Where the bottom taper is linear, the top is not. There is a transition at about the 680-foot level. Eight guy cables are attached at the joining section between the tapers. The entire weight of the tower and the pull of the guy cables rest on a two-section series pivotal Lapp insulator. This tower represents the construction methods and technology at the time. The laws of physics remain unchanged.
SANY0658


The WSM tower was erected in 1932 and began operation from it late that year and is still in-usetoday. The tower was designed and manufactured by The Blaw-Knox Steel Company of Pittsburgh Pa. The original mechanical drawing
s are very detail. The erection crew was from South Carolina. Originally, the WSM tower was 878 feet tall. This included 758 feet of square structural lattice then 120 feet of tapered mast. By 1939, it was determined the tower was electrically longer due to velocity effect. This contributed to a very high angle of radiation that resulted in a groundwave/skywave cancellation (fade) over Chattanooga some 120 miles distance. This condition was alleviated by this adjustment in height to 808 feet. As a side note, part of the mast was erected as the flagpole for the adjacent Lipscomb School. It was in use there until 1996 when the original school building was replaced. 50 feet of the pole still exist on the top of the tower. It was used to support a turn style antenna for the FM station that WSM operated at this location from 1939 until 1952. The original antenna was in the 45 MHz band. After World War II, the FM allocation moved up to 100.1 MHz. The antenna was replaced with another turn style antenna. That antenna is still up there. WSM relinquished the FM station license in 1952 as television was on the scene and FM broadcasting was no where near profitability.

Picture by John Hettish of Middle Tennessee Two-Way, Inc.

Picture by John Hettish of Middle Tennessee Two-Way, Inc.

Blaw-Knox went out of the tower business in 1958. There are several of these types of towers still in use besides the WSM tower. The same crew that installed the WSM tower installed the WLW tower near Mason Ohio. In fact, the crew went directly to Ohio when they finished WSM. There are three shorter versions of these towers at WBT in Charlotte, NC. Blaw-Knox built taller towers as well. The WSMV-TV tower is 1369 feet tall and has a 12-foot width face. This tower supports the antennas of WSMV-TV, WSM-FM and WZTV-TV. It is the classic pivotal base sectional guyed tower.

Prior to using the Blaw-Knox tower, WSM used a “cage” type antenna that was supported by two self-supporting towers. A wire was strung between the towers and a vertical feed wire fed the center from a tuning house directly centered between the towers. This was also referred to as a “flat top” antenna. Dr. George Brown et. al, of RCA fame, impressed the FRC with his vertical, series fed antenna that used 120 quarter wavelength radials as 360 degree counter-poise. There have been no improvements on this design to date. Dr. George Brown (like Blaw-Knox) is deceased.

Picture by John Hettish of Middle Tennessee Two-Way, Inc.

Picture by John Hettish of Middle Tennessee Two-Way, Inc.

There has been some suggestion that the Blaw-Knox tower was designed to be “fat” in the middle to accommodate a current loop (I max) in a 1/2 to 5/8 wave length tower. This was purely consequential and was not a consideration in the design of the tower.

W. Watt Hairston (N4UHE)
Chief Engineer
WSM
Nashville, TN.

The tower itself puts out over 50,000 watts at 650 Kilohertz.

It’s been a feature in American history, although while a backstage a player, a player nonetheless. As a tribute to the station’s centrality in country music history, the diamond Blaw-Knox antenna design was incorporated into the new Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s design in 2001. It was also part of the CONELRAD US National Emergency Plan in the event of a nuclear war.

Among the many people who have been affiliated with station Ralph Emery, Larry Munson and Pat Sajak are probably among the best known

I got to Knoxville Friday around 18:00. Got checked in to my hotel and unpacked ready to rock and roll.

Being the glutton for punishment that I am I immediately headed for Cumberland.

The Cal Ecker Band was the live venue of the night and they rocked, absolutely rocked. I bet they played Rocky Top a half dozen time in the almost 8 hours I was in the club, with the entire room screaming the song at the tops of their lungs.

Best shirt of the night!

I partied out at The Tin Roof until about 15 till 3 am. I was pumped, tired, blitzed and psyched all at once. (I have since learned that there is a Tin Roof in Nashville, which means at some point I may have to check it out) I wandered back to my truck and drug my exhausted carcass in to my hotel room at about 03:30.

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<-The best damn shirt of the night!

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Read the rest of this entry »

Welp, I’m heading to Knoxville in the next 3 hours. A few loose ends to tie up and then I’m out.

Here’s my game day video to wet yer whistle before I roll however

Hope to see ya’ll at the game!

Ok Folks,

Since the game is 48 hours way I figured I’d take the bull by the horns.

Before the game we can meet for the Vol Walk at Toyota Volunteer Village by the intersection for simplicities sake, if you like.

After the game figure we can meet at the bar at Calhouns On The River. First round is on me. No kidding.

From there who knows? But it should be fun either way.

Spotting some of us are easy. I’ll be the short fat guy with a black cowboy hat and Longsleeve Tennessee button up. Depending on how many people show up I’ll try to grab some of those “My name is” stickers and put our monikers on them.

Anyway should be a good game, wish us luck and of course GO VOLS!!!!!!

Cross posted at Rocky Top Talk

Well some other Vol Hounds and myself are going to attempt to gather in Knoxville for the Tennessee vs Georgia game.

Primarily we are going to watch the game. However we are also intending to scarf a few frosty adult beverages after the game as well. The location is still under negotiation and your welcome to put your 2 cents in here as well

The idea is to throw some more fan support to the team, because lets face it, we need it versus Georgia.

Come one come all. If you can’t get a ticket, no big deal. I’m not even sure if I will be able to get one. We’ll find a bar drink frosty adult beverages and cheer the team.

You can also comment here as well or via Facebook

Final coordination will be set in stone on Thursday night so Friday everyone will know the game plan for Saturday

Hopefully we’ll see ya there!!

You can’t always get what you want.

But if you try sometimes. You might find.

You get what you need.

Thank you Mick Jagger.

I have been chasing a particular rifle for over 6 months.

The Weatherby Vanguard package I have drooled on for over a year, and tried to purchase for half of one.

It never works out. Every time I find a place that supposedly has one in stock, I get there and it either never was in stock or its sold.It has gotten very frustrating.  Add to it no one locally will order it because I’m from out of state. The situation has gotten more aggravating.

Finally I sat down, and pulled out my notes from when I decided on the Vanguard. I had made a list of 4 rifles that I wanted to purchase. This was my birthday present to myself anyway, so I had wanted it to be as close to what I wanted as I could get.

I took my short list, did a search one again and found that the local Bass Pro Shop was supposed to have a Vanguard in stock.

I drove the 30 minutes to the store.

They didn’t.

But they did have the number two rifle on my list.

A Stevens Savage Model 110 7mm- Remington Magnum.

At the moment it’s the oldest production bolt action rifles in America. The Model 110 has been manufactured since the 1950′s. Field and Stream ranked it in their 50 Best Rifles in America.

I currently own a Model 110 Savage .30-06 that stays at my fathers house with a traditional wood stock. With this one I thought I’d try the new wave, and went with Synthetic, but I’m still old fashioned enough I chose the synthetic stock that looks like wood. I just can’t see the point in carrying a camo rifle while Deer hunting. The deer don’t care.

Between my Dad and I we have probably taken 20 or more deer with that .30-06. I felt this season, it was time to let it rest. Besides I have wanted a 7mm Mag for quite a while now and I wanted a rifle I could use in Missouri and mid west for larger game.

The reviews I read on the rifle were good. So I felt better about putting it in my list of rifles

I have gotten out of hutning regularly for some time. My job makes it hard. I’m making it a point to get back to things I used to enjoy, like this. This year will be the first time I have been hunting in about 7 years.

With me is going fellow blogger and friend Contagion, provided the doctor doesn’t hem him up. Also my long time friend Calimus is going as well. But mostly just to visit, drink beer and relax on the cabin porch. He doesn’t hunt. One or two others may arrive as well.

My father will also be around, which will be a real treat for myself. For years I hunted with he and his friends. Now, as he put it, its sort of the changing of the guard, he will hunt with mine as he did with his father. Also will be the first time he and I have hunted together since 1994. So it should be nice all said and told.

Back to the rifle.

Some folks call the Savage ugly. I have never been one to think so.

Stevens Savage Model 110 7mm Rem Mag

Stevens Savage Model 110 7mm Rem Mag

Quite the opposite in fact to me.

Outward the rifle is a beaut.

She’s extremely lightweight, in fact having used wooden stock rifles for hunting most of my life, it feels almost toy like. The M-16 I came to expect this feeling out of. From a bolt action rifle, it seems…off.

I picked up a strap by Browning, as well as a sack cloth bag for extra protection.

The biggest sell point for this rifle for me, was the AccuTrigger.

The AccuTrigger is something I have been fiddling with most of the morning quite frankly.

The Savage AccuTrigger

The Savage AccuTrigger

It’s taken some getting used too and some adjustment, but then that was the point of the AccuTrigger.

You can adjust your trigger pull on the rifle to what feels comfortable for you. Used to a long trigger pull from firing revolvers? No problem. Used to light pressure from using two-stage trigger sets? No problem. Want something in between? Also no problem.

Again it does take some getting used to. Having that single piece inside the trigger feels odd. I really wish they had made it with its own full size finger cover. That being said the pull is very nice.

The only drSANY0683aw back I have with this rifle is the scope.

It’s a Simmons 9×40. Not really the amplification I wanted, nor the brand. I owned a Simmons before and I wasn’t at all impressed.

What I may do is purchase a Bushnell 3200 Rainguard in the 10×50 that I was looking for.  We’ll wait and see.

For my gun nut friends who are curious, the next rifle in my line up was a Tikka T3 Lite.

The last was a Howa, who actually are the makers of the Weatherby Vanguard.

Either way this week I’ll be sighting in the latest addition to the arsenal, which will be the true test of the current scope. That will also decide if it stays or goes.

It will be nice to walk in the woods this winter. Even if I come up empty handed, the getting away will be just as important, to me.

Well the video came out choppier than I would have liked. Maybe once the company gets me settled in my apartment I can get a desktop set up for this. In the meantime I will continue to specialize in extremely amateur football video’s.

Here’s the first one of the year for me. Sorry so late work has kept me away from being able to do this until now.

Meanwhile be sure to hit up Rocky Top Talk close to game time. Joel or hooper will have the traditional Game Day Thread up by then and it’s always a blast.

Hopefully I will see you there!

Meanwhile Enjoy!

I am 2 classes away from graduating with a degree in Business Management.

One of those classes is a elective.

It is a curse of the education system, that you can not take a advance class before completing a basic class in something first.

Thusly, despite all of my skills, training, certifications, prior schooling and experience I am currently in curriculum for Internet Concepts. Which is more or less the rock bottom of technology formal schooling.

How basic, unfortunately became disturbingly clear about an hour ago when, I was asked via my instructor in the class to give a brief background on my network and information technology experience.

When I mentioned having helped build token ring networks, not a single person in the class knew what the hell I was talking about. Even my instructor seemed somewhat dumbfounded. Don’t even get me started on trying to explain how my CNA did not stand for Certified Nursing Assistant, but rather Certified Novell Administrator.

I suddenly feel very, very old.

It’s no secret. I miss the Army.

I used to write extensively about my military background, and I used to enjoy the Army.

I miss the bad ol days of black boots, BDU’s, and diesel fumes.

But one of the things I miss the most? Is jumping.

I don’t think there is a former crazy leg out there who can not start humming or singing aloud when they hear this.

I know I can’t.

He was just a rookie trooper and he surely shook with fright
He checked off his equipment and made sure his pack was tight;
He had to sit and listen to those awful engines roar,
“You ain’t gonna jump no more!”

Covered up by the local news.

They are too busy showing the outrage over an admitted pedohphile. Bloggers have that covered rather well, I think, and I agree with The Armorers sentiments.

Completely ignored by most media outlets. Heaven forbid we admit that something in America might be wrong.

The Earth Liberation Front, a eco terrorist group, has attacked 3 towers since the middle of September.

Those of us in the industry are, of course, paying attention. One of our work sites, after all, could be next. However Earth Liberation Front  fruitcakes tend to stay on the west coast so I’m not sweating bullets about my market.

That being said it’s ironic that several million dollars in communications equipment can be completely

Tower Toppeled in Snohomish, WA by Eco Terrorists

Tower Toppeled in Snohomish, WA by Eco Terrorists

demolished…and no one says a word save for a few inner industry publications.

They do not seem to realize just what it is they do by attacking these towers. it is not only your cellphone service they interrupt.  It’s also the ability for 911 services just as OnStar to locate your vehicle, for Emergency Service to use your cellphone location to find you during a 911 call, they take away the ability for lives to be saved.

How bright are these guys?

From their responsibility statement:

AM radio waves cause adverse health effects including a higher rate of cancer, harm to wildlife, and that the signals have been interfering with home phone and intercom lines. When all legal channels of opposition have been exhausted, concerned citizens have to take action into their own hands to protect life and the planet

Uhm…hello? Intercom’s?

Who the hell even has a intercom anymore??

So what these folks are endorsing is freelance vigilantism.

We have a guy who is an admitted pedophile. He gets a fair shake, and is held to be a wonderful man.

But damn those AM, FM and CDMA towers! We gotta STOP them! To hell with the people diddling little kids, we hafta STOP those steel toothpicks man! Hey pass me the bong will ya Cheech?

Morons.