Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Jesus Nut

The term Jesus nut has to do with Helicopter maintenance and refers to the one piece of hardware that holds the entire rotor system in place. The term was coined by Mr. Dr. Igor Sikorsky, the inventor of the rotor wing aircraft and the implication was that, should this small bit of machined metal fail in flight, the crew and anyone else aboard would be meeting Jesus as a bonus for suffering a horrible death. Now Dr. Mr. Sikorsky was a deeply religious person, so he probably meant the whole deal about the Jesus Nut and wasn't being cute.
In fact the whole Jesus Nut issue might have stayed locked in inquiring minds had it not been for the Vietnam War; the first war fought by the helicopter. What this came to mean was where the old time cavalry trooper would know about the diamond hitch to tie a load on a mule his modern counterpart knew how and when to check the Jesus Nut and other various and sundry things that would keep the "bird" in the air doing it's important work of dropping off the Troop for a fight and coming back to get them. Funny thing is Sikorsky did not have a lot of copters in the war. Today, almost all the helicopters in the military i.e. The Black Hawk and Sea Hawk are made by Sikorsky, but when people think Vietnam, they think about The Huey which looks like a mini van with sliding doors and all. It is a turbine (jet) and only has two main rotor blades. That means it is not particularly good at flying straight up off the ground and likes to have a running start. A person might get in trouble because he could easily put the helicopter into a spot where he cannot get out without some fancy and dangerous trick flying. When I was in Vietnam, I always worried over the state of the helicopter and had this fear that I would be flying along and suddenly catch site of Jesus floating by tossing my. Jesus nut in the air and catching it. You see it's quite possible to land a helicopter with no power so long as the transmission is not seized and the rotor will spin. Of course if Jesus has the Jesus Nut, the rotors will come off and the craft will fall like a stone leaving you to meet your maker as Pancake People.

I know that this is not a very clever of funny post, but it does contain information you can use.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The House of Texino

OK, when I was young I wanted to design women's clothing. I didn't tell anyone, so it was assumed I would either join the Episcopal Clergy or become a medical doctor.
First off, went through the confirmation process and became an Acolyte and a Crucifer. Now it may sound like The Crucifer would get to crucify people and perform other useful duties here on earth , but his responsibility is simply to lead the procession into the church for the service. The procession includes the ministers and the choir. If there is a junior choir, there is also a Junior Crucifer. His job is to lead the junior choir out when it is time for Sunday School. The Crucifers are called that because they carry a cross on a long pole so there is no doubt that Christians are heading your way. The Juniors cross is made from wood while the real Crucifer Carries a fancy number made of a heavy gold metal affixed to a stout wooden pole . The Acolytes are the guys who lite the candles and put them out. You get to dress up in a priest outfit (more or less) and you do other stuff, like moving "The Book" The altar of the church is a holy place and you better respect it at all times or you are going to hell. It also has two sides to preach from; The Gospel and The Epistle. When the minister is preaching the Gospel and he's done he says so, like "Here endeth the Gospel" and then you must move the bible to the other side of the Altar. Isn't that strange?
You get to help out with the Holy Communion too. I learned a lot about religion working at that church. One thing that really struck me was that church was a huge social event, and a lot of folks who sang loud and tipped to collection plate heavy couldn't wait for the coffee hour that came after the service so they could gossip about other people and say really rude stuff, but then turn on the charm when that person showed up. I kept waiting for God or at least Karl the deacon ( and a former Nazi by all accounts) to set these parishioners right and when it did not come to pass, I had no choice but to assume that if the Lord let such stuff go on in His house, He either was not home or did not care. Later as studied various types of medicine, it became fairly clear that while the overall message put forth by the cult of Jesus Christ seemed OK, the man Himself was quite possibly nuts.

It may be possible by the amount of words put down thus far for you to infer that it took me some amount of time to conclude that the ministry would not be my calling. Well, yes and by the time I had figured out that my belief in God was ambiguous at best, a group of teachers had conspired to brand me as stupid, un-trainable, not college material, a hoodlum and worse. Of course while this made me the most popular kid in school, it really dampened my hopes of getting into med school or any other trade for that matter. I kept pushing, however; I was no match for the system and as punishment for my questioning nature, they kicked me out of school and right into the waiting maw of the US Army where they would either make a man out of me or kill me in the process. A real Win-Win for the old school.

So there I was, a combat happy GI. 19 years old and in charge of a village built to house refugees from an area called The Iron Triangle. The whole idea of this triangle was that somewhere within it's boundries was the southern terminus of The Ho Chi Minh Trail. The trouble was that this was also a populated area where peasents worked the land for meager rewards . The Army came up with the grand pan to make this a free fire zone (against the rules) and since this could seriously complicate winning the hearts and minds of the non communists, they developed the Chieu Hoi program. This consisted of pieces of paper called Chieu Hoi passes that were fired at the peasents from canons and dropped on them via special bombs. This is a picture of a Chieu Hoi Pass.

Well the program was a success and a lot of Vietnamese came to call. We needed some place to put them, so we set up a building program and built a village. A sort of Vietnamese Levittown
with a duck lake and a swinery. When I left RVN in 1968, I think we had about 200 homes.
While I was at the village I learned how to be a doctor. Every Tuesday, a real doctor would come to the village and people from all over the area would come in for a free exam and a ticket for an x-ray if they needed one. The Vietnamese were very keen for having pictures made and viewed a chest X-ray as just another type of portrait. Anyway, the doc liked me and taught me lots of skills. I started a new religion in Viet Nam; Made an altar from an adobe brick, burned a bunch of Joss, sacrificed a frog, ate it. Then I wrote a rambling manifesto about the Chaplain's
assistant, singed it "The New Religion" and posted it on the official bulletin board where it stayed for a long time.

Yes, when I was young I wanted to design womens clothes. Dresses and shoes in fact, but as you can see, I was side tracked by the expectations of others. Funny thing though, I was able fight off the perception of failure that high school tried to hang on me and over time I went on to be successful in both the medical and metaphysical fields; successful enough for me. I did design some jewelry, but it wasn't very good, and when I started doing web pages I realized that I really did not have a eye for color, plus I can neither draw nor sew. On the other hand, I happened to see a show on the TV last week where "Designers" were put against one another in a contest to make clothing from various stuff. Some were very clever and some were very not.
I found myself thinking, "Hey, I would have given that skirt a little more 'flow' . Now, just like that, I am in business.
I don't want to give away all my secrets, but for my Florida Fall Line, I'm planning rain wear for you gals that just screams "SEE ME!" with Daffodil Yellow and Lime Lime Slickers with those pelican hook closures done in stainless steel. (Tres Nautique) Topped with a matching Sou'wester (that rain hat with the long back and the turned up front) My ladies will stay safe and dry. In fact, you can think of the whole Texino line as Fun & Functional or the other way around if you like. Please keep an eye out for our creations. En Salon at Paris, Milan and Honolulu.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

... but nobody wants to die.

That's part of a blues song. "Every one's talking about getting to Heaven, but nobody wants to die." Blues people tend to be realists and I try to emulate the best of them by laying around most of the day and staying up late at night waiting to be tempted by the devil in the form of a woman in a red or blue dress. Rarely does this occur, so I tend toward idleness and other sinful action certain to keep me out of God's good grace and it has finally come to my attention that when the boys at R&I in Heaven's precinct pull my jacket, I will not be allowed entrance to the supernal eternal lands beyond the pearly gates. Sort of cheeses me off that I might be at the cross roads of eternal damnation while the angel grandpa from Bil Keane's Family Circus cuts a deal with St. Peter so it will snow and his grand kids can try out their new sleds. I don't remember much about Gramps Keane before he died, but, since he did, he sure gets A1 service up there in Paradise. Like I said, it bugs me, so I went looking for some folks who seem to think Heaven is a lead pipe cinch at the end of the trail and after checking them out, I'm pretty sure Heaven may not be the place for me to bump around after I die. Please allow me to share;

Any question that these people doubt their place in the after life? None in my mind, so I'm not so blue about missing the golden rocket. No, I'll take my chances with that bunch who hang around after the the band stops playing. I've always had fine times with people who like music and been real happy with the friends I made because of it. Maybe that's been my heaven all along. If there is any other sort of after life left for me, I can only hope they have a nice selection of books and that it is not too cold or too hot. I need to think about this in hopes that there will be something forthcoming for the bits and pieces of good I have done over the years. Hope I can have a dog.