Sunday, July 19, 2009

Telephones and Cell Phones

One of my pet peeves is to be standing line at the check out counter with money in hand to pay for my purchases and have the cashier pick up the telephone and carry on a conversation while ignoring those of us waiting to pay for our items.

If I happen to be on a tight schedule I will leave the items on the counter and go on my way . In an auto parts store the clerk kept answering the phone while no less than eight customers waited for service. He answered call after call . Finally one of the waiting customers announced that he was going to go home and call the clerk on the phone as it seemed to be the only way to get his attention .

The man who delivers our water is addicted to his cell phone. You never see him not talking on it. Recently I was standing there with a hundred dollar bill waiting to pay for the load of water and he had the cell phone between his head and shoulder and was carrying on a conversation while writing out the receipt. He hadn't even bothered to say 'Good morning' to me.

In the supermarket one day I saw a male shopper talking on his cell phone while shopping. He seemed to get the other person's opinion on every item he put in his shopping cart. He happened to finish at the check stand just about the time I did and he still had his cell phone cradled against his shoulder and talking away.

I watched as he left the store just as I did...he had a bag of groceries in each hand and was still yakking away on the phone. I wondered if he would let go of the phone to stow his purchases in the way! He set one bag on the ground and unlocked the car, put both bags inside , got in and drove away still talking. Now that is addiction!

About land line phones, I will be getting a new one in a couple of weeks. Because of my hearing ( or lack of hearing ) I use a TTY relay system with the telephone . It works great for me but callers are reluctant to deal with the operators who type their words, as the operators at times , have to interrupt the caller to check spelling or tell them to speak slower , etc. And also , many people don't know how to use the TTY system. When I called the animal hospital to check on my dog the girl who answered, said " We don't want any ", and hung up the phone , probably thinking the operator's explanation of TTY was a sales pitch.

The new phone I am getting is voice activated so the the callers words will be automatically typed for me to read and I will also be able to hear the caller's voice which my present system doesn't allow. I'm told the new phone, called, Cap-Tel , is more user friendly as it will be like making a regular phone call. Let's hope so . I'm looking forward to it. I promise not to become addicted .

Till next time.
Marion Springer

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Politicaly Correct ( P C )

It seems to be getting more and more difficult to just say a few words to someone in passing without the risk of saying something considered politically incorrect ( P C). I find myself being politically incorrect from time to time. That's probably because I come from an earlier time when life was different, and possibly because I'm short on diplomacy.

Today you have to examine every word six ways from Sunday to see if it will offend the other person before you say it. Example, I was in the supermarket and there was a lady in a wheel chair ahead of me in the isle. Her path was blocked by an empty shopping cart that was sitting cross ways in the isle. There was no room for her to go around it and it looked like she was having trouble trying to reach it to push it out of the way.

Naive me, I said, " I'll move it out of your way". Well, she darn near jumped down my throat! Looking ready to fight, she said , " It's in EVERYBODY'S way !". It would have been in everyone's way , if there had been others there but at the moment it was just the lady in the wheel chair and me .

It was in her way more than mine for I could easily move it whereas she could not. I figured that I must have said something politically incorrect by offering to move the cart out of her way but I was at a loss to know what I said that had offended her . So, I just moved the shopping cart without responding to her outburst and went on my way, thinking to myself, "she can move the next one herself ".

I talked with a man who worked for the Post Office. All postal employees had to attend a sensitivity training program where they would learn what was safe to say and what could get them a sexual harrassment lawsuit. He said he had learned that it wasn't safe to tell a coworker that she looked nice, or that her dress was very becoming, or any thing that a reasonable person would take as a compliment. In today's workplace he said, the big thing he learned was to just do his work and keep his mouth shut for that was the only safe way. Best not to talk to any female coworker, he said.

A man I talked with recalled having his grandchildren in a fast food place and one of the young ones was acting up and ignoring granddad when he repeatedly told him to settle down. He said, " I spanked him once on his bottom and it suddenly became very quiet in the resturant and everyone in the place was looking at me". The granddad then said in a loud voice to everyone in general , " Don't anyone say a word", and they didn't. Spanking an unruly child is not PC in todays world.

The granddad was lucky he didn't get hauled off to the pokey for child abuse by today's standards . Having raised four children, I can attest to the fact that sometimes it takes a smack on the bottom to make the kid behave.

Well, enough about being politically correct with every word ... Saturday , July 11 is the meeting of PRA Chapter 1 and we will talk about gyros and the upcoming gyro fly-in and we won't worry about being PC.

If you're near to the El Mirage dry lake in So. Ca. (30 mi. East of Palmdale), and have an interest in gyros, come to the meeting. You can email me at for directions .

Till next time.
Marion Springer

Rattle snake season here in the desert !

The photo is of my daughter Linda holding a Mojave Green rattle snake which she killed in her yard a couple of days ago.

Linda's cat was looking out the window of her home and was acting very disturbed. Linda looked out to see what had her cat's attention and there it was...a very large rattle snake just off the edge of her front porch and about three feet from the side of her house, all coiled up and waiting for something!

She grabbed a shovel, her weapon of choice, ( not mine though), and went outside to dispatch the snake to rattle snake Heaven which she quickly did . It was a good size snake with 6 rattles and a button.

This is desert country and rattlers are a part of the wild life out here. My son and daughter and I have all killed rattlers that were in our yards and close enough to be a threat to us. Lest anyone think we enjoy eleminating the snakes, I assure you we do not. I hate it when I have to put a rattler down and I know my children feel the same way.

BUT, we are a long way from medical help and it takes a medical helicopter an average of one hour to reach us, a fact that was observed once again last week when a neighbor with an injured leg waited for the emergency helicopter.

The venom of the Mojave Green is particularly dangerous and is life threatening if help isn't immediate. So, it's us or them!

With the activity of three dogs running here and there on my place I am seeing fewer and fewer snakes but Linda's place is much more serene than mine .

Lucky is the smallest of my three dogs and she is the rattle snake watcher. She is always on the lookout for rattlers. When she spots a Mojave Green she doesn't attack , she just sounds the alarm and we hop to.

Till next time.
Marion Springer

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Three steps forward and two back

Things had been going nicely with the starter adaption to the McCulloch engine on my gyro. There were a couple of set backs that had to be dealt with but Dave Bacon is a resourceful man and he took the challenges in stride .

When he found that there was simply not enough room to accommodate both the starter and the Wunderlich prerotator that is on my gyro , he switched out a part of the prerotator for a different one that would leave room so that I wouldn't have to give up the prerotator.

Finally last Saturday, a 102 degree day in El Mirage, after working all day in the hot hangar it looked like we were on the home stretch. We rolled the gyro out to the cement run-up pad and started the engine. It fired right up and I was pleasantly surprised at how powerful the starter was.

Still not having everything buttoned up, Dave shut the engine down after a very few seconds of running. I looked at him expecting to see a big smile on his face but instead his face showed great disappointment and I knew that something was wrong. He pointed to the propeller.

We found that a brass bushing had come out of the front end of the starter and had contacted the propeller leaving two gouges in the hub area. The starter that had come with the kit was a reconditioned one. Dave checked out repairing the starter but considering the importance of the starter and it's it's closeness to the prop he opted to pick up new starter.

So, no work on the starter this weekend, the 4th. of July but next weekend is a whole new ball game. What's left to do is install the starter, that should go fast now, and hook up solenoid and battery wires for good and then run that baby up !

After the engine run up will come the hang test. To do that we will use a comealong and lift the gyro off the ground with me sitting in the seat and holding the gyro level with the control stick . Then with an angle measuring device , ( sorry, I can't think of the name of it), we will check to see that the center of gravity is correct. In this case, the gyro should hang 0 to 3 degrees nose down. If all is Ok then it will be time to go fly.

So, we're gettin' there.
Till next time.
Marion Springer