The All-Purpose Dog

IMG_0366Fritzi doubles as lap warmer and comfy headrest.

Speaking of dogs … Donna and I were out in the yard last night, waiting to see if a Space X launch from Vandenburg would be visible in the western sky, when we heard voices down the street. A white dog ran by in the dark, followed by a family on foot, waving flashlights and trying to call it back. Talking with them briefly, we learned they’d adopted the dog, a lab/retriever mix, from the shelter that very day, and that it had a hip injury from being hit by a car in its past life. They didn’t catch it, and as of this morning it’s still missing.

Even if the rocket launch hadn’t been hidden by clouds, we felt so awful for the poor dog and our neighbors we wouldn’t have noticed it anyway. I don’t know about Donna, but I’m even sadder this morning than last night. When Fritzi and Lulu first moved in with us, I lived in terror they’d get loose and not be able to find their way back. I still do!

As for my Reaganesque turkey neck wattles, never let it be said I’m afraid to show my true self to you. I see more and more folks posting cartoons and AI-altered images of themselves to social media, but never actual selfies. Always flattering, those representations … how curious! Wonder what it is about their real selves they’re afraid to show?

I closed my Twitter account shortly after Elon Musk took over, renamed it X, replaced the bird with half a swastika, then unleashed hoards of anti-Semitic and racist fanboys. I joined rival platforms Mastodon, Threads, and Bluesky. On Twitter, I’d been following a self-curated selection of journalists, writers, aviation experts, and opinion makers. Most of them, it turned out, stayed put on Twitter, afraid to leave lest they lose the networks of follows and followers they’d built up over the years. Only a few were willing to try the rival platforms. So after a couple of months, I signed back on to Twitter/X and started trying to build my old network again.

But damn it, Twitter, now X, really is different now. The feed is infested with hateful blatant racism and general stupidity. Sometimes it builds to a crescendo, and that’s when I’ll discover it’s auto-switched from “following” to “for you,” as it does every few days. But even when I switch it back to “following” a lot of that shit is still there, retweeted by people I do follow … often through my own poor choices in picking them. Well, the latter thing is easy to fix by unfollowing, but the basic problem remains and now I’m turning my back on Twitter/X again … what was once a fun place to hang out has become a miserable one. Of the rivals, I’ll stick with Mastodon, where I’ve found some like-minded friends and followers. Bluesky and Threads? Meh. Not getting much out of either.

I don’t like to lump Facebook and Instagram in with Twitter/X and its rivals. Facebook and Instagram are where I stay in touch with friends and relatives, as well as groups of people who share my interest in books, aviation, dachshunds, and wristwatches. Apart from ads I don’t see a lot of horrible stuff on Facebook or Instagram, because the types who post horrible stuff are not in my social circle, and I don’t see myself leaving either.

Here’s something I recently posted to one of my Facebook aviation groups:

Screenshot 2024-06-24 at 6.40.12?AM

Books and aviation! Too bad I couldn’t work in dogs and wristwatches, huh? Anyway, in addition to posting this to Facebook and Instagram, I also put it up on Twitter/X and Mastodon. It’s getting a lot of reaction, a surprising lot of it from other former F-15 pilots anxious to show off their knowledge of all things Eagle.

So anyway: in both photos the jets are over the stripes and numbers painted at the approach end, not partway down the runway. In both photos the wingman has the speedbrake (on top, behind the canopy) partially extended to keep from scooting ahead of lead. In neither photo do you see the wavy heat distortion and smoke you’d see coming out from jet engines at full power, and in the second photo you can see the engines’ exhaust nozzles are wide open, indicating idle power (they pinch down as power settings increase). So: landing, not taking off.

As for the banned book tie-in, the USAF turned chicken and outlawed formation landings after a recent fatal mishap at a pilot training base. I must have done hundreds of wing landings in my career and I’m here to tell you there are few things better in life than greasing one on.

Whoa. Just finished a glass of V8, into which I’d squeezed a little lemon and a few shakes of Cholula sauce. Most of which sank to the bottom, so the last sip was a wowzer. Okay, I’m wide awake now!

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