Friday, October 21, 2016

I don't know why she does this, she just does

For reasons that escape me, Mayhem likes to come into the bathroom in the morning while I am brushing my teeth and jump up on my left shoulder. She does this pretty much every day. She has taken to waiting on the toilet or sink while I am in the shower, so that when I come out, there she is. Usually, she waits until I get dressed and come back the the bathroom to brush my teeth before she heads for the shoulder, but not always.

She also used to leave it alone on weekends, because I get up so much later. No more. So now I get kit-tay on the shoulder everyday until she decides it is time to get down. During the week, this works OK because I go to put food in their bowls, and she wants down. Weekends are a different story, and I can wind up walking around the house for quite some time with a cat on my shoulder, as here:

She gets quite comfy, actually.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Does the Air Force really have a plan to replace the A-10?

No, but they say they do. Personally, I do not have high hopes for this particular endeavor. The A-10 is the ultimate in simplicity: it is a virtually indestructible aircraft that is a flying dumptruck, able to carry unbelievable amounts of firepower, deliver it precisely and survive the harshest of battlefield conditions. Given the way the U.S. military has operated for at least 20 years now, "simplicity"" is not a word that is in the Air Force's vocabulary.

This is an early stages evaluation of what the Air Force would want in an aircraft to replace the A-10. The problem, of course, is the Air Force hates the role of the A-10, doesn't want to perform that role, and has an institutional resistance to the highly effective, low-cost solution the A-10 provides, even if the Air Force were interested in actually providing a solution to the problem the A-10 solves. Were the Air Force interested, it could provide engine, avionics and targeting upgrades for the A-10 and keep the aircraft in service for decades more. The airframe itself  has been proven top-notch time and again.

The Air Force has been trying for years to retire the A-10 because it is not in keeping with the Air Force's view of its core mission. That "core mission" has changed over the years, depending upon which faction is in the ascendancy in the Air Force high command, but close air support has never been one of those factions. There are two dominant, competing factions within the Air Force -- strategic forces (long-range bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles) and fighter forces. Right now, the fighter pilots are running the show, which explains why the F-35, with all its problems, remains the primary aircraft acquisition program for the Air Force. A replacement for the B-2 bomber, a 1980s program, is not really in actual motion. Hell, we still use the B-1 (1970s) and B-52 (1960s) as strategic bombers.

The Air Force never really wanted to do close air support. Close-air guys are called "mud movers" by the Air Force, and it is not a term of affection. The Air Force prefers to soar above it all, whether that is in air-superiority fighter aircraft or strategic bombers. That's why the Marines always have had their own air wing, which focuses almost exclusively on supporting ground troops in combat. It also is why the Navy, which carries Marine aircraft to places where they can provide that close air support, also has tactical bombers, most of which are the same ones flown by Marines. The Navy's primary focus in aircraft is planes that can protect aircraft carriers from aerial attack and, to a lesser extent, planes that can sink enemy ships (although the Navy prefers to rely on missiles for that).

To the extent that the planes the Navy has that can sink enemy ships also can provide close air support for ground troops, the Navy is willing to accept that. It is not, however, their preferred aerial role. Only the Marines and the Army care about close air support, and the Army has no fixed-wing combat aircraft. The Army's fixed-wing aircraft are primarily artillery and close air support spotters. They have extensive rotary wing aircraft (helicopters, y'all), but those are primarily designed for anti-armor missions. They are highly vulnerable to ground fire in a close air support role.

The A-10, on the other hand, is considerably less vulnerable and is famous for coming back from missions with damage that would have left most aircraft a smoking heap of wreckage:

The Air Force is not interested in performing this mission. I'm sure that by the time they finish their evaluation process of what needs to replace the A-10, it will result in something that costs far more than the A-10 and cannot perform the mission.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

I had one Farm task this past weekend

That, my friends, was to wash the bumper crop of potatoes that Farmer Tom harvested:

Washed them, laid them in the sun to dry, then bagged them up. Saved some for seed potatoes in the spring. The crop turned out pretty good. Lots of good-sized potatoes, which we have not had in the past. I think the current beds are going to work going forward. Farmer Tom and I are having discussions about changes in the spring, but I think the location of the potatoes is not one of them.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Game food porn, despite my heavy heart

We played like shit against the Cowboys last night, and the score reflected that poor performance. You can't turn the ball over four times and expect to win. We didn't. The game food was better, but we did have what I think is the first-ever game food failure. I picked a promising recipe, but it turned out to suck.

 First, we will go with the game food that didn't suck. These three items are old reliables. First, we had the stuffed tater tots:

We also had stuffed potato skins, because that's what we do:

Then I threw in some mini-lasagnas, always a winner:

Then I tried a new recipe. It really didn't work. You start with a box of macaroni and cheese mix, prepared according to the instructions. Add about a half-cup of mayonnaise:

Stir that up, then add cooked broccoli and stir that in thoroughly:

Add some cooked chicken, the put the mixture in a greased muffin pan:

Cook it for 15-20 minutes, then let it stand for at least 5 minutes before you try to take it out of the pan. As you can see, my effort failed to maintain its muffin-cup shape:

I'm not sure why the recipe failed. Mrs. Wolves has a theory, though: "No cheese, no sticky-sticky, no goody-goody." I think she might be right. Maybe cheese, maybe more mayo. Hell, I don't know. It tasted fine, but it was basically macaroni and cheese with chicken and broccoli stirred in. Not what we were looking for. Kind of like the game result.

Lotta small countries coming by, still no San Marino

Some people, you just can't reach.

The swordfish is not looking particularly spritely

This project is in the dying days. The swordfish is not on the deck, but he's within range of the gaffe hook. If we go beyond Friday, I'll have a heart attack. Of course, if we don't go beyond Friday, I might have a heart attack, too. My cardiac status is pretty much unrelated to the project status.

Sure, it's another kit-tay post

Life is not complete without cute kit-tay pictures. So here you go. No damn idea who Mayhem is snuggling here:

Yet another morning where Mrs. Wolves wakes up covered with kit-tays:

Kit-tay fix? Check. Food porn coming.