How It’s Made TV Series

This morning I discovered the Science Channel on cable TV and watched several shows in the “How It’s Made” series. The episode I watched was number 3 in the 14th season. I know this because the info button on my remote control displays the title of the show plus the series and episode number, one or two of the headliner actors and a sentence or two describing the plot or storyline.

My point in noting this is season 14 is that this is the first time I have ever heard of this show at all, so where have I been for the other 13 seasons? Under a rock? How can I find all the seasons and episodes that I missed?

The episode I just watched showed how western saddles are made. This was totally fascinating to see all the different steps involved and the craftsmanship that a saddle requires. Overall, one saddles takes about a dozen different artisans to put it together, with great care to detail, and it takes a full 40 hours to make one. Yes, saddles are expensive, but now I appreciate all the work and talent that goes into making one and I don’t begrudge them the sale price one bit!

Other episodes showed how barber poles are made, how Oreo cookies are baked, how walnuts are harvested and shelled, and what goes into making golf clubs. All of these segments are totally engrossing and I cannot tear myself away from watching. Evidently there is a new show every Thursday night on this channel. This is going to give me something to look forward to watching on Thursdays.

Telescopes and Learning About the Night Sky

This month and the rest of this year I will be using a telescope and learning about the night sky with my sister’s son. She found a used telescope for sale at one of those thrift stores that she like to haunt and bought if for the kid. Of course, neither she nor my nephew know anything at all about telescopes or astronomy. So she calls me up and asks me to come over a couple of times and show them how to use the telescope.

Now, I had a telescope as a kid and kept it on the balcony outside of my bedroom. I had a great view of the Potomac River from my bedroom and only one tree in the backyard that could block my view. I got my telescope for Christmas from my dad, after we both did a lot of research into the different types of telescopes and shopping hard for the best price. Of course, I knew in advance what the Christmas gift was going to be, but the cool thing is that it was EXACTLY what I wanted!

So, tomorrow night I’m heading over to her house. The least she can do is fix me a free dinner for spending a couple of hours over there. Although she is not a good cook. I don’t think she knows how to do anything but open a can of Chef Boyardi and plop it in a bowl so she can microwave it for 60 seconds. So, on second thought, I’ll order a pizza for delivery to her house and at least I know I’ll be fed while I do my uncle duties with the telescope.

Air Show This Weekend

This weekend might mean Mother’s Day to most people, but to fans of airplanes and the military, this weekend is Air Show Weekend.

Last year was the return of the annual airshows to this area. They had to stop for several years because of funding and sponsorship problems. But they worked it out and came back last year. They always do the show in May, when the weather is mild and the not too hot to be standing on the tarmac for an entire day. Just a shame that they do it on Mother’s Day, as there are already a lot of traditional activities here tied into Mother’s Day celebrations. Last year’s show was a fantastic weekend, even though it rains for a short time in the middle of the show.

This weekend will be very much like last year’s except that the Blue Angels will be flying this year. That will be a real treat. I can’t wait to watch them.

photo of jets at air show 2011

Last year it was not the Blue Angels, it was the other flying team, the Thunderbirds. There is only one other flying team that performs at air shows in North America, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds. The fighter jets that they fly are the newest accomplishments of aviation engineering and military might. If you have a chance to attend an air show, it will be an impressive display and a memorable day for the entire family.

And the Unknowing Leads the Unwilling


I made a comment on a Facebook post about ignorant Southerners and I got myself into a flame war with people I don’t even know. Some guy went nuts on my about calling Southerners ignorant and what did I mean by that. He was all fired up. I looked up the definition of ignorant in the online dictionary, just to make sure I wasn’t misusing the word. But I was right and I held my ground on the argument. It was all just semantics. But I do know my vocabulary.

School Calendar Controversy

The new Superintendent of Schools has decided that the only way the kids here will learn enough to pass the minimum grade levels tests is to go to school for more days out the year. He wants to take away most of the summer vacation days and make them go to school earlier in the year.

I already think it is ludicrous for the kids to start back the first week of August. That is awfully early to be going to school when most of the rest of the country does not start until after Labor Day. As far as I am concerned, they need to bring in extra teachers and extra tutors to help the kids who are struggling. The kids who are average and better are being punished for being in the same classes as the dumb ones.