Bye Bye Betty

bitching-betty-ledeLeslie Shook, the voice of the F-18 cockpit warning system, retires after 20 years. She is affectionately know by pilots and aviators as Bitchin Betty. If you’re flying and she talks to you, you’re a second away from a very bad day. Better do as she tells you.


From the Boeing site:

“I have loved these planes for a lot of years,” said Boeing employee Leslie Shook as she gazed up at the cockpit of an F/A-18 Super Hornet. Leslie’s special connection with the jet spans 20 years. She is the voice of the cockpit warning system. Every technician and every pilot who has trained on or flown in an F-18 has heard Leslie’s stern commands. Her voice is affectionately known in the fighter jet world as ‘Bitchin’ Betty.’

“You hear this voice every day telling you things are okay or that you need to take action,” said Dana Perkins, Boeing Flight Operations, Weapons Systems Operator. “You start trusting this person’s voice. If she said ‘stand up straight,’ everyone would stand up straight!”

Leslie’s run as the voice behind the F-18 started as a happy accident. The F-15 contained the voice of the original ‘Bitchin’ Betty.’ Crews imported that voice into the F-18; but, additional calls were needed. Leslie was a media producer filling in as a sound engineer on the recording sessions. But, the talent couldn’t quite capture the sense of urgency needed for the job. “Betty’s got a cadence and a sharpness to it,” said Leslie. The program manager heard her directions and decided she was fit for the role—a role that has endured for the last two decades.

As the expression goes, all good things must come to an end. Boeing employees and Navy pilots recently gathered in St. Louis, Mo. to meet the woman behind the voice on her last day. “As soon as she started talking, we all grinned and said ‘oh yeah, that’s her!'” said Lt. Cmdr. Doug Crane, a DCMA Weapons Systems Officer on EA-18G and F/A-18F aircraft.

Leslie’s distinct voice cracked slightly as she said goodbye to ‘her plane.’ Watch the video to hear Leslie’s story in her own words and how her sharp command at the right moment saved one pilot’s life.


Daddy Issues


I was getting tired of my hosting site. Their platforms were constantly getting hit. I was always receiving brute strength password hack attempt alerts. Coupled that with30 minute waits just to talk to a person, and every issue being “elevated”  to the technicians with a day or two turn around just to put the next fire out.

I took the advice of my brother Rob, who jumped ship to GoDaddy a couple of years ago. I migrated over the July 4 weekend. I was talking to a real person located in the US within three to five minutes. They were very helpful. One guy Michael stayed on the line for hours until we got the problem resolved. To be fair, I FTP’ed a whole site over  breaking a lot of links and pointers for the new site. If I was doing this from a new website it would have been instant. Heck I even learned a few tricks during the last day. The stuff they wasn’t allowed to do because it was on my end, they walked me through it. Every time issues has to elevated the original rep would stay on the phone with me until it was resolved. And right now I saved 50% by signing up for three years at $3.99 a month. I defiantly recommend these guys.



Spring 2016 at Bloomers Again

It’s springtime again. That means it’s time for the Mrs. to haul me, my pickup and my money to the lawn and garden stops. First stop today was Lowes. Apparently everybody had the same ideal. There was a long line waiting just to drive up to the mulch pallets. So off to Bloomers we go. For another post, see April 22, 2012. As Benie was spending my bucks, I sat on a stuffed porch swing on the wrap around wooden porch. There were a dozen of the large low pitched wind chimes and the breeze was making them resonate in a low lulling sound. Check it out

I picked up some seedling plants. Cherokee tomatoes and Jalapeno peppers.


Cherokee (purple) Tomatoes


Feel the Heat






Oh, and they still have this. And yes it still screams Rob.

This Screams Rob

This Screams Rob






Enjoy the pictures and video that I took this afternoon. Click on the thumbnail for a larger image.

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Orchestral Movie Themes

london_symphony_star_wars_michael_humphreyNothing makes a movie a timeless classic like a orchestral movie theme. There’s nothing like Kenny Loggins’ “I’m All Right”, or “Danger Zone” to anchor a movie in a set period of time. I prefer large orchestras over the latest top 40 flavor of the month as background music for movies. For this exercise I’m going to limit themes to the last forty years or so. Here are some notable examples. Feel free to add your favorites in the comments.

First of all there is the Legendary John Williams. If you haven’t heard this, crawl back under your rock.

Then there’s Hans Zimmer. His works include Red Tide, The Last Samurai, Interstellar and one of my all time favorite movies;

And another of my all time favorite movies obtains it’s soundtrack from Trevor Jones.

Then there is Michael Kamen (yes of S&M, Symphony and Metallica), Who has done so many soundtracks Wikipedia breaks it down by year.

And finally Michael Giachinno. I didn’t know this until I started research for this blog, he is credited for 31 soundtracks starting in 1977.

And for more music head over to  Western Hero on Saturdays for “Saturday Sessions”


Christmas at the Movies

Christmas 2014 is almost upon us. Nothing like settling down and watching some Christmas movies. Sure there are the classics like It”s a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street. But here are some from the last 30 years or so.

Yes Die Hard. It and Die Hard 2 is set during Christmas.

Only one thing in the world could”ve dragged me away from the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window.

Some men are Baptists, others Catholics. My father was an Oldsmobile man.

Type in the address in Google  Maps for the Christmas Story house and then go to Street View.
3159 W 11th St, Cleveland, OH

Then walk inside

Here”s a little gem, Unaccompanied Minors.

Here is one of my favorites.

And finally there is Rare Exports. Different.

This is just a few of the offbeat ones. There are plenty more. What”s some of yours?

Pot Calling the Frying Pan

Wendy Davis (D) is running against Greg Abbott (R) for the seat of Governor in Texas. During a recent debate she ask Greg if in his role as State Attorney general would he have defended a ban on interracial marriage if it existed? Not that it ever did. She also attacked him claiming by supporting punitive judgment limits he was against people in wheelchairs. Now are you ready for this? Greg Abbott is a paraplegics who is confined to a wheelchair and is inter racially married to a Latina for 33 years. If he is elected she will be the first LatinaTexas First Lady.



Oh, and one last thing.


New Car

Nagging Thoughts

After making a 2000 mile round trip to visit my brother in Odessa, TX (the one who hasn’t posted any of his two new car purchases), driving through a freak November snow storm in a full size two wheel drive pickup, I needed a new traveling vehicle. My brother’s wife Dede had just got a new one. And it got me dwelling on it. So I started researching the matter.





Out With the Old

My wife Benie was driving a 2007 Ford Focus she had cosigned for one of our daughters. Yeah, nuff said. I hated it. I’m a fairly big ole boy and that was like a clown car. Did I mention it had a 2.0 liter four bangers in it. It’s entry level at best. I figured rather than fooling with selling it, I’d let the dealer beat me up using it as a trade in. I was telling this to a neighbor and he mentioned that another neighbor’s grown son was looking for a dependable ride for his son who was starting college. One thing led to another and we made an appointment for the next weekend. Better hurry and degunk it. Did I mention my daughter is a slob.

focus gunk

Notice the seat


Muck and Mud

focus passthrough






After a few test drives and a little haggling I sold it for the mid range KBB good conition price. I got some cash, and he got a dependable, good MPG college car. Complete with all prior dealer service records. That’s it sitting at grandma’s across the street. We actually sold it before getting a new one. So I was at the point of no return then. Benie was driving my 1994 Ranger. I knew that wasn’t going to last long.

focus new home




The Research

After researching (man did I research the heck out of this), comparing and test driving a few. One site I liked to use was U.S. News and World Report. They rank them by category. So you get to see head to head your category of vehicle. We decided to go with some type of cross over. Now for those who don’t know all auto makers make a seven passenger crossover, a five passenger and then a smaller dinky five passenger. I didn’t want to have to shoehorn in the smallest one and have my knee constantly rubbing on something. And the seven passenger ones usually sacrifice the cargo area and nothing but little kids are going to be comfortable with on that third row anyway. So the larger five passenger CUV (crossover vehicle)  it is. Naturally being a blue oval guy I emailed Christina the internet sales person for our local Ford dealer. Their CUVs are Explorer(7), Edge(5+) and Escape(5-). We drove an Edge. We also looked at Honda(CX5), Nissan(Murano) and Hyundai(Santa Fe). Benie fell in love with the Santa Fe. And the dimensions were within +/- one half inch with the Edge. Oh by the way Hyundai’s CUV lineup is the Santa Fe(7), Santa Fe Sport(5+) and Tucson(5-).





The Choice

At first I was a little hesitant about getting anything less than a six cylinder. The Edge offered one but the Santa Fe sport model only offered a four cylinder turbo. I figured with a ten year drive train warranty I’ll drive anything if they are going to keep it running for ten years. Another plus. So after buying six consecutive Ford vehicles in a row I got the Hyundai Santa Fe sport turbo. The only deal breaker from Benie was no more white vehicles. She has a loathing to white cars the same way Gerrit Graham did with red ones in Used Cars.

cabo bronze

The color is  called Cabo Bronze. It has all the packages you can throw at it. Monster nine speaker Infinity stereo, satellite, touch screen navigation, their version of Onstar called Bluelink, power sunroof, proximity entry with push button start, heated and cooled leather seats. I think I’m going to move in there. Here’s Benie in her new ride Oh and don’t tell Dad.



Benie in Her New Ride


Rough Week

sandpaper-Rough Week It’s TGIF for President Obama. This has been a particularly nasty week for him. It’s been nothing but bad news served with a topping of more bad news. Some of the bad tidings are the following.

Unemployment Unemployment remained steady at 9.1 percent.

Obama keeps diverting attention with an array of distractions but this is the one thing that will derail his second term Afghanistan Last Wednesday the Taliban launched a 20 hour attack against American and British special forces at the US Embassy and International Security Assistance Force headquarters in Kabul. U.S. officials are looking for direct evidence between the insurgents and Pakistan’s intelligent agency.

Solyndra Now emails have surfaced that show the Bush administration rejected a government loan to Solyndra. Bush officials stated that the loan application needed further study before it moved forward with tax payer assistance. In fact the Department of Energy’s committee unanimous rejected the loan. So how did flat out rejection morph into a presidential endorsement? Seems like the white house had it’s thumb on the decision scale.

GOP Victories Two key Democratic districts were won by Republicans. The first was in New York. Anthony Weiner’s old seat was won by Republican Bob Turner. This is the first time a Republican has held this seat in over a century. Also in a landslide victory, a key U.S. House position was won by Republican Mark Amodei. This is a clear message to Obama and other democrats on the economy.