Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everybody! We’re a bit late posting this since Damsel and I were celebrating with a prime rib dinner this Christmas. This is the first time (in my recollection) that we had a prime and not just a choice rib roast. I cooked the roast on the outdoor grill today (our temperature was about 72° F. today) and had to regulate the temperature so as not to cook the roast unevenly throughout. It was a five pound roast which we bought in November and has been in the freezer until we took it out to thaw yesterday.

The (clickable) image above is of the dinner plate and a “Christmas Cocktail” on our holiday table. The sides were a lettuce wedge with Green Goddess dressing and Brussels Sprouts. All in all, it was delicious and we needed to take a long walk after eating.

We hope that your Christmas Feasting went well and was as enjoyable as ours. Merry Christmas!

From Luke 2:8-11

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

119th Anniversary of Powered Flight

December 17, 2022 — 119 years ago, Orville and Wilbur Wright accomplished the feat that mankind had dreamed about for millennia; to lift off the surface of the earth and to return safely after being aloft for nearly a full minute during one of the first of their flights on this day in 1903.

What I hadn’t realized is that the headwind during the first flights was 27 MPH resulting in a ground speed of less than 7 MPH and a much shorter flight in terms of distance.

From NPS:

December 17, 1903
Three days later [after their first attempt], they were ready for the second attempt. The 27-mph wind was harder than they would have liked, since their predicted cruising speed was only 30-35 mph. The headwind would slow their groundspeed to a crawl, but they proceeded anyway. With a sheet, they signaled the volunteers from the nearby lifesaving station that they were about to try again. Now it was Orville’s turn.

Remembering Wilbur’s experience, he positioned himself and tested the controls. The stick that moved the horizontal elevator controlled climb and descent. The cradle that he swung with his hips warped the wings and swung the vertical tails, which in combination turned the machine. A lever controlled the gas flow and airspeed recorder. The controls were simple and few, but Orville knew it would take all his finesse to handle the new and heavier aircraft.

At 10:35, he released the restraining wire. The flyer moved down the rail as Wilbur steadied the wings. Just as Orville left the ground, John Daniels from the lifesaving station snapped the shutter on a preset camera, capturing the historic image of the airborne aircraft with Wilbur running alongside. Again, the flyer was unruly, pitching up and down as Orville overcompensated with the controls. But he kept it aloft until it hit the sand about 120 feet from the rail. Into the 27-mph wind, the groundspeed had been 6.8 mph, for a total airspeed of 34 mph. The brothers took turns flying three more times that day, getting a feel for the controls and increasing their distance with each flight. Wilbur’s second flight – the fourth and last of the day – was an impressive 852 feet in 59 seconds.

This was the real thing, transcending the powered hops and glides others had achieved. The Wright machine had flown. But it would not fly again; after the last flight it was caught by a gust of wind, rolled over, and damaged beyond easy repair. With their flying season over, the Wrights sent their father a matter-of-fact telegram reporting the modest numbers behind their epochal achievement.

Pearl Harbor Attack 81st Anniversary

USS Arizona BB 39 Memorial, Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii

This event occurred about a year and a half before I was born, but the War in the Pacific was still ongoing until I was about three. I can’t remember specifically the hardships on the American People, especially those of us on the West Coast, but I do remember the times when the Japanese Navy threat to the mainland had us doing “blackouts” where our community would turn off all the lights in our household. Mom would turn off all the lights in the house save for the inside hallway where she closed the doors and read to my brother and me as we sat on the floor. The entire area was blacked out for fear that Japanese Aircraft or Vessels might bomb or fire upon signs of population. Fortunately, that never took place in Long Beach, CA, where we lived at the time.

FDR’s famous “Day that will live in Infamy” speech to Congress asked that war be declared:

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.

But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7th, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.

Nice words, but, ironically, FDRs own party, eighty-one years later, is conducting a similar “form of treachery” against the American People and our Nation. And they are doing so by collaborating with our enemies both foreign and domestic.

Pray for our Republic.

Annual Charity Car Show

We had less than the best weather for the annual “Cops Who Care” and “Remember When Cruise Association” Toyz for Totz Car Show Event. Still, we got up and out to the Civic Center to drop off our unwrapped toys for the local Christmas presents to the under privileged kids. The weather was drizzly and like a wet fog more than rain, but we wore our foul weather gear and attended the show in spite of the conditions.

Normally, the cars that would show up for this event would be nearly overwhelming, but the funky weather seemed to keep about 90% of the usual attendees home. I guess I can’t blame them. I’m sure that their toys for the admission to the show will make it to the Cops in time for the Holiday toy distribution.

Meanwhile, Damsel and I were able to see a few of the classics that did show up today:

Classic Pontiac Le Mans

Classic Studebaker

Classic Roadster with Checkered Engine Compartment

Spooky Hot Wheels Mustang

There were a lot more than these above. but not as many as would have been had the weather cooperated. Click on the images above to enlarge.

Eclipse Countdown Update

In anticipation of a second solar eclipse that we may travel to observe, I updated the Eclipse Countdown item in the Featured Pages in the right sidebar (or below on your smartphone) to include a countdown to the next American total solar eclipse. The previous counter for the Albuquerque Annular Eclipse next October is still there.

Newly added to the Eclipse Countdown page:


The next North American total solar eclipse event will take place on April 08, 2024. We’re planning to be in Kerrville, TX to view this event.

Damsel took the (clickable) image on the right during a previous eclipse seen from Casper, WY on August 21, 2017. At that time, we witnessed our first total solar eclipse and are eagerly anticipating seeing another in April 2024.

Time left until the Total eclipse begins in Kerrville:

Native American Heritage Day

Actually, all of November (since 1990) is Native American Heritage Month and the day after Thanksgiving is the specific day declared as a holiday in recognition of that heritage. I bring this up since although I am 99.7% of European ancestry, there is a 0.3% trace of “Indigenous American” and “Broadly East Asian” in my DNA report. This ratio of trace ancestry is corroborated by the segment of my Ancestry tree shown below.

Fourth through Sixth Level Great Grandparents

This tree segment shows my 4th Great Grandfather J. S. Conaway, his parents and grandparents. My Native American Ancestor is simply shown as “Choctaw Wife” and I have not been able to find any more information about her other than what is shown. Mathematically, that works out to be that I am likely 1/256th Native American. To be recognized as a Choctaw Tribal Member, however, I would have to have at least one Great-Grandparent that was a full-blooded Choctaw. I’m not even close.

If the 1/256th ratio is true, then I have four times the Native heritage than does Senator Elizabeth Warren, so-called “Fauxcahontas,” who misrepresented herself as being of sufficient Native ancestry when applying for special college enrollment perks while being only 1/1024th Native American.

Damsel also has DNA results showing her Native American Ancestry, but we have as yet to trace her lineage in as much detail as my family tree. One of her sisters has that detail, but we can’t directly access it yet. We do know that one of her Great-Great Grandmothers was at least part Native American.

So, even though it is in greater vogue to call this day “Black Friday,” We reach out to our Native American cousins and wish them all a Happy Native American Heritage Day.