Random Thoughts

Blog Post



Name the Mystery Aircraft


An Interesting Article (link here)

Members of a “sleeper cell” of alleged undercover Christian missionaries who infiltrated Orthodox communities in Jerusalem were unmasked in dossiers passed to the Israeli government.

They were from a group of 10 fake Jews who followed evangelical ringleader Michael Elk — calling himself Rabbi Michael Elkohen — whose Christian upbringing was exposed earlier this month.

Elk had set up a seminary in Jerusalem called Yeshivat Yarim Ha’am, teaching a belief in Jesus. He gave students a ‘Messianic’ smicha, making them rabbis.

You can read about it in the article for yourself – sleeper cells of Christians determined to undermine Jews in Israel and elsewhere. I have a hard time understanding why they’d do it, but the politics of faith can be byzantine and ill-founded.

Messianic people are not barred from proselytizing in Israel. Many Christian groups are present there.  These particular folks are lying, and directly interfering with Jews following their own religious beliefs – pretending to be a rabbi, a Cohen, and performing services as such, with the intent to convert Jews based on those lies. It requires a peculiar zeal to engage in that sort of activity.

A lot of what I’d characterize as splinter organizations, seem to follow a charismatic leader, and then another, and then another. I’ve run into them from time to time in my life. I’m not quite sure what makes them tick.



In the Days of Fighting Sail…

The Master at Arms was a post that was found on every rated ship. Even though he always falls a little to the back in the description, the Master at Arms is an ambiguous position, due to his duties on board. He observed the behavior of the crew, ensured discipline, and reported any misbehavior. He also made sure that the lights and fires were extinguished everywhere. He supervised the training of the men in the use of small arms, and boarding implements.


1st Class of a Petty Officers, Master at Arms, or Quarter Master, by Maxim Gauci, 1828 

It is therefore quite understandable that Captain Marryat would have preferred to assign this post to a marine. “The master at arms’ berth can never be filled up by a seaman, a soldier would answer the purpose much better” NRS, Manning Pamphlets 1693-1873- Captain Marryat on the Disposition of a Ship’s Company p.348. With few exceptions, it was always an able seaman who attained this post as a petty officer with warrant status, which means that he didn’t have full privileges in the way that full warrant officers did but slightly higher pay than an able seaman.

He belonged to the petty officers with warrant status and, depending on the ship, had one or two assistants, so-called ships corporals, under him. Only on unrated ships was there no master at arms, there was only one corporal.





Hey, President Xi


Britain plans to plant a coast-to-coast forest comprising 50 million trees.


I can’t Drive 55

Highest speed limits in the United States by state in km/h. Beyond the fact that it’s kn/h and that’s unit of measure is not in common use in the US, the actual speeds of transit are much greater because you tack on 10 mph minimum.


Map of the magma chamber beneath the Yellowstone Caldera.


Tea should be served, pre-sweetened, over ice, with lemon IMHO.



41 thoughts on “Random Thoughts

  1. Your mystery plane looks like a Beech Starcraft with a tail. Designed by Burt Rutan with a full composite body, but I haven’t seen any for a while.

  2. Went to a camp in Montana a while back. While there were posted speed limit signs, they were being ignored and vehicle speed was based on traffic density (or lack thereof) and road conditions. For a while I was going with the flow of traffic and it was somewhat north of 100 mph.
    English forest – after the crash, the trees will help keep people warm 🙂

  3. Our service manager had to make a repair trip to a small town in North Dakota one January. Jim Bob was from South Miz-sippi and was most definitely a fish out of water in the below-zero frozen north. He said to the waitress of the only restaurant in town, “What do you people do up here in the winter?”

    “Drink,” she said.

  4. Those upper Mid-West Scandinavians enjoy their Aakavit, etc. no surprise there.

    Wyoming is going to electronic speed limit signs, 80 on 80 in a lot of the “in between” places is now acceptable, but when weather shows up they run the limit down to 45 because common sense has disappeared and too many driver think since they are on the interstate that fixed posted speeds are achievable regardless ice and snow…then the wreck happens.

    Yellowstone- So let’s turn the churning caldron into a park, paved roads, lodges, camping, and tourists from all over the world. Imagine of that ever let loose…it’d look like the end of an apocalypse movie. If you see the elk and bison making a run for it, that would be a sign to exit.

    1. Wyoming has 200 plus/minus State Troopers for the whole state. Your chances of getting caught speeding are still high; they are *()^ good, and not just on the Interstates. The up side, if you want to view it as such, is the fines go to the school system.

      1. 200 troopers mean that 40 are on duty at any given time. Usually, that’s the rule of thumb – 1/5. To fill a beat plan you need five officers for every “car” because of holidays, training, days off, etc. If there is management that doesn’t deploy – watch commanders, station officers, etc. you can take away from that number as well. If you have women who are pregnant (long-term light duty), subtract that number. If you have injured officers, expected to recover – short-term disability, take them from that number too. Anaheim PD – home of Disneyland, Convention Center, Angel Stadium, 40 square miles and 300,000 people + visitors (can be 250,000 when it’s packed) used to field 14 officers.

        And yet people complained that they were always the subject of police harassment. You really have to stand out from the crowd when you run the numbers. Of those 14 in harness, there was always 1 or 2 at the hospital with prisoners, 1 or 2 at county jail (even the PD had its own jail, combative prisoners went to county) 1 or 2 eating lunch, half a dozen on calls, 1 or 2 at the station booking evidence or doing some needful thing. So, for half a million people, spread over 40 square urban miles, you might have had half a dozen or so available if you’re lucky – and yet, people would complain of being singled out. Anaheim ran 1 officer per car unless there was a training situation. If there is a trainee, the numbers are further attenuated.

        That’s the reality of police work.

        1. MSH’s surprised a lot of people. That old fella who lived in his cabin said he was not going anywhere, it was his home regardless if it blew or not. Pristine forest leveled. Could happen in Yellowstone.

          1. I visited Mt. St. Helen some years ago. They’d just started re-planting trees, so the devastation was still evident. It extended out MANY miles beyond the caldera and I found the level of destruction to be far beyond what I’d expected. Yellowstone is many times that size and both the eruption (whenever it comes) and the impact on the US will be profound.

    2. Yeah…..ever taste Aakavit? As my buddy once exclaimed: Dude! This wasn’t made for drinking, it was made to throw at Russian tanks!

      1. I had it one time, on an SAS 747 bringing me home from the Middle East. I joked with the stewardess that if we ran low on fuel, we could pump it into the tanks and continue on.

        1. AALBORG JUBILAEUMS is a lot smoother, also helps to put it in the freezer…served ice cold with a hearty “Skaal!”.

  5. Piaggio 180 Avanti. The company has just gone into receivership, unfortunately.

    1. I didn’t know, and that’s a shame. Fine aircraft. I expect that COVID has a lot to do with sales. problems. Hopefully they’re just reorganizing and not going under for good.

  6. I have read that when the Caldera pops , ash will be 5 feet deep at the Mississippi River. So the folks camping there will likely get the best of it. It will likely kick of the New Madrid Fault , so all the Bridges will be in the river. None of those living at the time will escape completely , certainly not in North America , and global temps will drop substantially. Interesting times.

    1. Lat time it blew, it left a deposit of ash in the Gulf of Mexico.
      Western Nebraska has an ash fall museum that shows the skeletons of various animals buried when the ash avalanche arrived.

  7. I see I’ve been beaten to the punch on identifying the plane. I’ve seen a P-180 around Addison Field in the DFW area. They’ve got a somewhat different sound than most of the small twin-engine planes we see. And then there was the day I heard a really distinctive sound, and said to my wife, “Multiple radials!” as I ran out into the back yard. I was just in time to see Fifi the B-29 flying overhead. My wife came out, too, but she was kind of rolling her eyes a bit at my antics. There was a warbirds airshow north of here in McKinney that I hadn’t heard of. Great little airshow, too, with 3 B-17s, a very early B-24, SB2C Helldiver, etc. I might’ve sprung for a ride in the tail gunner seat in the Helldiver if they’d perform a real dive-bombing attack and pullout, but obviously, they won’t stress the plane like that.

  8. I like the gender neutral bathroom joke. If only this stupid COVID-19 hadn’t struck us, there could be swimming pools opening up in summers. For the moment, there’s only inflatables pointless pools at home to count on. And all the disrupted life that comes along with it. That’s all for my rant, hope you’re doing well LL.

    1. Things are back to normal where I live, Purple Assassin. It has a lot to do with your latitude – and prevailing politics. You can splash in gender-neutral bathrooms to your heart’s content.

      Or the ocean, where fish go and do what they will do.

    1. I think that Tibet is gone. If India could take it today, they would because of the territorial advantages it offers. The Roof of the World is high ground.

  9. Re “West Taiwan”. I’ve long publicly maintained that the ROC is the legitimate government of China, and the territories of PRC are in rebellion. Obviously this is a bit tongue in cheek, but the perspective is valid (though hardly practical) and it pisses off Mainlanders and “Taiwanese Independence” types equally. So bonus.

    As to “Elkohen” (translates as God-priest!) and his followers: Sounds goofy, and probably deeply unhelpful, but whatever. If they can have Marranos (insincere converts to Christianity) then why not a counterplague of Elkohenites?

  10. P180 Piaggio. Owned by Susi Air out of Indonesia. One of three they have, if they haven’t crashed them by now. Government personnel are not allowed to fly on that airline… sigh…

    Re the bars, just look at the average temps. THAT explains a lot of it! LOL

  11. I knew it was a Piaggio, but was unsure of the type. I’ve seen them fly in and out of the Torrance airport. Very distinctive sound.

    If Yellowstone blows, all I can say is it’s been nice knowing you guys. We’d probably be under a hundred feet of ash here in NoCo.

    The tarvern map made me chuckle. The city I grew up in had neighborhood taverns everywhere. My Dad would tell me of the old guys in the factories filling up their “beer buckets” on the way into to work (for lunch, of course!), and many a day started with a boilermaker. All of them served food, and it was usually very good.

    1. Company I work for used to be headquartered in St. Louis and did a lot of machine design work for Busch, bottle washing machines and such-like. Before the lawyers ruined life, if you worked at the brewery, per union agreement your work station had to be within so many feet of a beer tap, or there was a guy came around with a bucket of beer every so often to serve you up one.

  12. As a glancing point, would any of the “Jews for Jesus” have been recognized as Christian in the first few cents AD?

    No sacraments, holy order (bishop, priest, deacon) and instead Luther’s Solas, which aren’t, arguably in the Bible. etc.

    Don’t get me wrong, I applaud their conversion, but to what? 19thC US Evangelicalism? Hmmmm. OK, now I’ve offended everybody.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to top