Friday, December 12, 2008

Perry Mason or Matlock?

No...I'm Annoying...More Like Columbo

It seems that I'm having entirely too much fun these days playing forensic injuneer part time.

Thus far I've avoided buying a new magnifying glass or stethoscope or any fingerprint powder, but then again there's a couple of shopping weeks left before Christmas and a new Geiger Counter or a telescope could be still on the horizon...

This latest case I'm working on at the moment is terrible and pitiful and insanely insane, all at the same time.

It's terrible and pitiful because a man was horribly burned over half of his body four years ago, will never work or do much of anything again except suffer, and the experience has cost him near $1.5 million in medical expenses in the process.

Some say he's lucky to be alive, but from what I've heard it's hard for me to imagine finding much quality in an existence that is his life today as a result of his injuries--we'll have to let God settle that score in eternity I guess.

It's insanely insane (and possibly inane) because everyone pretty much knows who's responsible for the "accident," but near a dozen "experts" like me and five or six lawyers are spending the insurance companies' money hand over fist trying to settle the disputes over apportioning out the blame over as many parties as is possible.

What kills me is how many people participating in this exercise know so little about the workings of the things we're analyzing. In fact, it appears that the more "expert" advice costs, in many cases the less it has to do with what actually happened.

If things continue at the current pace we're soon going to be analyzing the soil around the parking lot and counting the rings in the trunks of the trees in the side yard of the plant that built the telephones used to make the 911 call--it's going that far afield and overboard in my opinion.

I almost feel guilty for getting paid the amount I do to offer such elementary observations.

OK, maybe I don't.

I guess what it really does is that being on the inside pisses me off that people get away with promoting themselves as technical experts when they really hardly know the time of day and what city they're in based on my observations.

If the government, and by default the PUBLIC, really wanted to do something about the cost of insurance of all kinds they'd pass some sort of tort reform legislation not limiting the size of the awards and jury verdicts--but making it a LOSER PAYS system.

You file a lawsuit--particularly a frivolous one--hoping to just bleed your defendant and possibly win a lottery on a technicality or fluke judgment, and you lose the case, then YOU pay not only YOUR legal costs, but the legal expenses of the person/company/entity you filed suit against.

My client on this case is so far away from being guilty for anything even close to causing this accident other than having a product installed in the system that exploded, and yet they're spending hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars defending themselves from what will probably be an EIGHT FIGURE verdict (that's something between $10,000,000 and $99,000,000 for those of you that went to Georgia or UT.)

Meanwhile, I'm off on my latest iteration of the process, and I must admit that the extra income is welcome here at Christmas time. I guess you could say that in spite of the recession or current economic downturn or whatever you can call it, people are still in the business of suing each other and I guess I'm able to add a little valuable input to the process and make a part time living of a fairly stinky process.

I have to go now and buy a dirty raincoat at Good Will to go with my well chewed cigar in order to complete the image illusion...

Still Speechless

Who Can Beat The Stupid Stuff That's Really Happening?

I'm taking some time off here because my mind is tired from writing six or eight hours a day on technical stuff.

Feel free to read the news and try to figure out what the heck is going on in the world

You can alse write or call me and try to explain because I sure can't understand it all...

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Busy, Bored, Basically Useless As A Blogger

So sue me...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Airplane Crashes Aviation Accidents

They Left Him Nowhere Else To Go...

As I've mentioned here before on this blog, I spent a little time nearly twenty years ago learning how to fly an airplane.

Growing up having a father that was a military test pilot and spending most of the first thirty years of my life building and flying model airplanes, I guess it was inevitable that I eventually climb into the cockpit and attempt to soar away into the wild blue yonder.

My crappy medical history ended up stopping my training several times before I ever attained official private pilot status, but I was qualified to solo a old Cessna and the logbook that burned up in the house fire had nearly eighty hours of time logged puttering around in the airspace over north Georgia.

My point in all of this this morning is to address from a pilot's perspective what I think was going through the mind of the Marine Corps Aviator who survived the aviation accident out in California this week.

First of all--and for the record--I need to qualify the meaning of "Crash" versus "Accident."

In layman's terms, when you go out driving down the road in your antique Edsel and your steering wheel breaks off the shaft in your hands, or a wheel flys off your SUV on the way to the Grocery Store causing you to run off the road into a ditch...'re the victim of an "Accident."

On the other hand, if you're one of these freaking morons that drives to work at twenty miles an hour over the speed limit with a cell phone in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other and you run headlong into a woman driving the opposite direction distracted by putting on eyeliner while looking in her rear view mirror--you've just "CRASHED" your automobile.

There's a HUGE difference in the two terms....It's just that simple in my mind.

Accidents--by name and definition are "accidental."

"Crashes" are almost always the consequences of behavior that's not always painful or deadly at any given moment, but will eventually catch up with you if you keep doing it long enough.

Which brings me back to this week's aviation disaster in California...

Pilots, both military and civilian, are trained to constantly look for good places for making an emergency landing as they fly along on each air borne excursion. Depending on the part of the country you fly in/over, it can be extremely easy to find a clear flat piece of cow pasture should you need it, or it could be next to impossible to find a place in the mountains or over the ocean to find a flat dry place to make an unplanned landing.

The bad news is that many if not most airports started out located out in the middle of nowhere, but the year 2008 finds most of the older ones wrapped up with shopping centers and housing projects--most of which have been built over the past twenty five or thirty years.

McCullem Field (RYY) in the north Atlanta suburbs where I did most of my flying had a single east west runway called 27 or 9 depending on which way you were going when you landed or took off. If something went wrong on take off on runway 27 you had the choice of being seen on the news sitting on the roof of a bus in your bent airplane in the middle of US highway 41 (if you could execute a 90 degree turn without stalling) or you could visit the roof and parking lot full of cars in a office/warehouse complex they built in the mid 1980's in what had been a vacant field on the other side of the highway.

(I had a long section of warehouse roof picked out where I thought I could dodge the AC units and antennas if I ever had to make a short trip to the ground outside the airport fence with a sputtering engine.)

A departure on runway 9 to the East had it's own unique pitfalls, in as much as the public was pretty much shielded from the hazards of your mistakes/misfortune because there was a 100 food deep rock quarry located just past the airport fence on that end of the field.

I liked flying off 27 and usually picked my flying days based on having the wind out of the West so I could avoid departing over "the pit."

Military bases and the associated runways are no exception today. The former Dobbins Air Force Base (now Dobbins Air Reserve Base) also located in north Atlanta used to have extensive open land on both ends of the primary runway, but again as of the mid/late 1980's the land have been filled with Wal Marts and apartment buildings, restaurants, and shopping centers.

IN Marietta, Georgia they're just one or two broken jet engines away from a similar disaster as the one which occurred in California, and the politicians and the developers knew it when they developed the land in the first place.

It's just like buying a house with a railroad track in the back yard and then complaining about the noise of the trains coming through each night at midnight.

Every few years the people living around the airports get up a petition and complain about the noise and demand changes--even though the airport was there forty or fifty years before their double wide trailer or townhouse.

And people second guess the pilot's decision to abandon his dying airframe, but the military leaves the final time and decision up to you.

Many, many men and women have been killed and critically injured by either riding their broken machines into the ground in an effort to minimize property damage and save the members of the public, else staying on board a few seconds too long trying to do same.

Looking at the map, I see little options for a pilot limping back in from an aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean.

The ENTIRE area between the end of the runway all the way to the beach for miles north and south of the approach corridor is today filled with houses and swimming pools and tennis courts.

And for the most part they all look relatively NEW from the perspective of Google Earth.

Thus while I admit that this event is certainly a tragedy, it's also the result of an far as I can tell.

It wasn't a plane CRASH, it was an aviation ACCIDENT, and it's something the pilot will have to live with for the rest of his life.

I say it's better to lose a 50 million dollar airplane and have the 2 million dollar pilot survive than to have five dead at the crash scene.

Join me in praying that this warrior's conscience will eventually give him some peace in this day of touchy feely mamby pamby world politics.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Want To Start Your Own Company?

Just Steal It From The "Rich" People That Took All The Risk In The First Place...

Today if you want to get into business for yourself you can apparently either:

A. Join A Union


B. Just refuse to leave work when your company goes out of business (and the politicians and Jesse Jackson sees a TV camera.)

Why go through the trouble of hiring a lawyer to file your Articles of Incorporation and paying the associated fees with the Secretary of State in the state in which you are incorporating, issuing initial shares of stock, having a shareholders meeting, paying for the newspaper ad announcing your intent to incorporate, getting a business license and paying the associated fee, getting a state sales tax number and a Federal Tax ID number, opening a corporate bank account, and then hiring a CPA firm to help you negotiate the maze of IRS regulations lurking around just waiting for you to make a %$#@ dime and not pay the government tax or fee associated with daring to make a profit and hire employees...

(I wrote all of that from memory)

...NOOOOOoooooooo just demand that YOUR JOB be protected from MY COMPANY while you and the government beat me with laws and regulations designed to ensure that YOU AND THE %$#@ GOVERNMENT VULTURES GET YOUR FAIR SHARE OF MY MONEY.

After all, how dare I have the audacity to start my own company and not give all the profit to YOU...all you lazy assholes that need a job but can't take the time to stop watching "Survivor" , "Dancing with the Stars", and squirting out babies you can't afford to sit still and pay attention long enough to get yourself an education and thereby be qualified to actually pay your own freight in life.

Yeah...that sounds like a plan for success to me...


Monday, December 08, 2008

My Weekly Plan

Simple Yet Obvious, Intelligent, Ideas From Someone Who's Been To Hell & Back...

1. Go to work on time.

2. Once you get there, do what you're paid to do, and do it well.

3. Don't buy anything you don't absolutely have to have. If it's not necessary in order to keep you or a family member breathing and keep your bodies covered from the elements, leave it on the shelf.

4. Pay Cash when you find you need something to keep someone you're responsible for breathing and/or to cover your bodies from the elements.

5. Come home and rejoice in the sanctuary of private property ownership and the company of those around you who live with you and depend on you being there each day.

6. Do your best to not call the idiots around you "IDOTS" or "MORONS" (or just stupid %$#@ selfish bastards) who are not following these rules while at the same time complaining about the lack of and need for government intervention in places the US Constitution never intended the government to go.

(Geez...I'm a brilliant smart ass...aren't I?)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Vedi Vidi Vici Nos Ate

"we came, we saw, we conquered we ate"

Other than a few unexpected no-shows, I'd say that things went pretty well last night.

Close to three pounds of chicken, I'd say another five pounds of Salmon Fillets, and darn near 20 pounds of beef tenderloin were heated and tortured in ovens until considered done, then thrown out onto the counter top in portions to be consumed by the ravenous guests.

All and all a good evening, I'd say.

Many commented about how nice it was having the "company" party in a less formal home setting rather than just showing up at a restaurant for an hour because it allowed people to talk and interact more easily.

Time to go address some Christmas cards and look at the lights on the front of the house...maybe cook brunch again while I'm at it.

Hope Y'all have a good one...