Christmas 2018

Merry Christmas

May God bless everyone on this Christmas. Merry Christmas from us to all of you!

Click on the Christmas Card to enlarge.

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First Day of Winter in the Northern Hemisphere

Solstice

Damsel and I were in the office this afternoon when I remarked that I think the winter solstice is today. As I looked up the time of the solstice on the internet I could see that winter had just begun only a little over an hour ago. As of December 20, 2018, 3:23 PM Arizona time, we are officially in the winter season.

We just took the dogs out for their last walk before it gets dark here. The temperature on the patio was still up at 68° F, although it will be falling rapidly after dark. We’re expecting a low of 46° F overnight.

The Northern Hemisphere might be getting a cooler winter this year according to arch-weather guru Joe Bastardi of WeatherBELL Analytics. I read a recent article with an analysis of El Niño and La Niña and some sort of Pacific Decadal Oscillation that we might be in for some really cooler weather in 2019.

So, Damsel and I will be shopping for some warmer winter clothing in the post-Christmas sales. The good news is that the forecast isn’t so severe as to warrant snow tires or parkas or arctic gear. It’s Arizona, after all. The forecast for this weekend will be highs in the 70’s and lows in the mid 40’s, so the deep freeze isn’t here yet!

Screenshot above from the Archaeoastronomy website. Click for a (slightly) larger image.

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Orville and Wilbur Day 2018

Wright Flyer

The 115th Anniversary of Powered Flight is today, December 17, 2018. This marks one of, if not the most, important technological achievements of the 20th Century. Aviation spawned an age of unprecedented achievements not only in aircraft-related, but in myriad support technologies. I am thankful to God that I was born in an age where emerging technology, my aptitude and education were responsible for a long and happy career in aerospace.

Co-incidentally, today is the 80th anniversary of my parents’ wedding. They were married on this day in 1938 in Long Beach, CA, where I was raised. They were present for the booming aviation industry in Southern California, another reason I was born into the right place at the right time. It’s too bad that I can no longer say that about what Kalifornistan has become.

From the National Air and Space Museum:

The Wright brothers inaugurated the aerial age with the world’s first successful flights of a powered heavier-than-air flying machine. The Wright Flyer was the product of a sophisticated four-year program of research and development conducted by Wilbur and Orville Wright beginning in 1899. After building and testing three full-sized gliders, the Wrights’ first powered airplane flew at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903, making a 12-second flight, traveling 36 m (120 ft), with Orville piloting. The best flight of the day, with Wilbur at the controls, covered 255.6 m (852 ft) in 59 seconds.

The Wrights pioneered many of the basic tenets and techniques of modern aeronautical engineering, such as the use of a wind tunnel and flight testing as design tools. Their seminal accomplishment encompassed not only the breakthrough first flight of an airplane, but also the equally important achievement of establishing the foundation of aeronautical engineering.

Image and text borrowed from this Smithsonian Link.

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‘Tis the Season to be . . . Tax Prepared?

tax-time-1040.jpgWell, maybe we’re not really hard over on getting the tax return for 2018 in the works just yet. We did, however, get our 2018 copy of the tax program we use and installed it on the laptop.

One thing we do want to evaluate is how well we did with our estimation of how much to withhold this year. We used IRS Notice 1036 to get a head start on the withholding and posted about it in February. With the new Tax Cuts, we hope to be fairly close on the figures. During the tax year we also tweaked the withholding a time or two.

Another item I am interested in seeing what effect it might have and that is having ordered my Ham Radio Call Plates also resulted in prematurely (in 2018 rather than 2019) paying the Vehicle License Fee on the RV which will increase the deduction for taxes paid. It’s not a trivial amount, so it will be interesting to see. We may wind up getting a refund again and you may know how I hate to lend the .gov interest-free $$$.

So, the program is installed and I will begin dribbling information into it over the next couple of weeks in order to gain an inkling as to how well our estimated withholding worked. I’ll post on that when I know something more.

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2018 Cops Who Care Car Show

Notice the Beautiful December in Arizona Weather

We drove over to the Community Center this morning to attend the Annual Cops Who Care classic car show. We donated a few unwrapped toys for their Christmas “Toyz for Totz” Gift program. We browsed around the lot where there were scores of Custom and Classic Cars and Trucks. Here are a few photos that one or the other of us took. Click on any image to enlarge.

Custom Ford T-Bucket 1939 Chevy Interior
1947 Cadillac Hearse 1955 Chevy Bel-Air Interior
1954 Chevy Bel Air Coupe Self Portraits 911 Memorial Engine Cover
1958 Chevy Apache Pickup Classic Willys Jeep

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State Firearm-Friendly Rankings Graphics

Graphical Depiction State Ratings Levels of Restrictions

Last October, I posted about Arizona Still Number One for Gun Owners. Since then, Guns and Ammo, who prepared the ratings, posted a graphical map of the US showing the states rankings. That is the image on the left above. Click on the image to enlarge.

Reprinted from the October post:

States were measured by the following criteria:

▶ Right To Carry
▶ Treatment of “modern sporting rifles” (ARs, AKs, etc.)
▶ Magazine capacity limits
▶ Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground
▶ Treatment of NFA firearms
▶ Miscellaneous issues such as constitutional protections, preemption, restrictions on gun or ammo purchases, CCW reciprocity, availability of places to shoot, etc.

I also found a still from an animated graphic that shows an updated status through 2017 of Right to Carry for each state. As of 2017, when the image was produced, there were 13 states with Constitutional Carry. Click on the image to enlarge.

It disturbs us a bit, that some of the states through which we will be going next spring, have poor rankings. Even though we have CCW recognition in Colorado and New Mexico, we will just have to be extra cautious when we are in those places.

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My Amateur Radio License Plates are on the Way

w7gd-plate.jpgI went to the local AZDOT MVD office and ordered Ham Radio license plates for the RV, which was up for renewal in a few weeks. I killed two birds by ordering the plates and renewing the registration at the same time.

The image at the right is a mock-up of what the new plates might look like. I took a screenshot of the image on the DOT website and cobbled in the radio tower from another image. You can see what I did if you look closely.

Besides the call sign, there is a radio tower with lightning bolts coming out of it and the words “Amateur Radio Operator” instead of “Grand Canyon State” seen in my mock-up. In addition, there is a mountainscape and several saguaro cacti in silhouette along the bottom. The plates are colored in gradient from turquoise at the top, through white in the center and to gold on the bottom. I think they’re quite nice looking. An actual completed ham radio license plate can be seen here.

The agent who took my order said that the plates take four to six weeks to arrive. In the meantime, I’ll be impatiently waiting!

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