Daily Archives: January 28, 2021

No Blood Involved . . .

Karma the cat, as opposed to Karma the destiny, has been under the weather the last couple of days, pretty much barfing up everything she eats. But what’s strange is that she seems to feel fine, had plenty of energy, grooming herself, jumping up in the window, and she doesn’t seem to have a fever.

Karma CloseUp

But today being the 3rd day, I took her into the Santa Fe vet clinic. I called ahead to try and get an appointment, but I was told they were booked until Monday. BUT I could bring her in as a Walk-In . . . for an additional charge of only $71.50!

And when I got there, there was only one car in the lot and one lady inside just leaving.  So how were they booked up? In addition, I was called in after only about 5 minutes.

I was kind of worried about how Karma would react to all this. She can be very ‘bitey’ when she’s not happy. And ‘scratchy’ too.

But she was actually pretty calm when they weighed her (14#), and especially when they took her temperature. And while I had her there I also asked the vet to take a look at her eyes.

And $150 later they could find nothing wrong with her. Her temperature was normal, her stomach felt fine, and everything else was normal.

So they ended up giving her some fluids for dehydration (though she did not seem dehydrated, an anti-nausea shot, and an antibiotic that I’ll give her twice a day.

And a treatment plan for another $550 for MRI’s, X-Ray’s, etc., if she doesn’t get any better.

The vet also could find nothing really wrong with her eyes. She doesn’t have cataracts, and her pupils react to bright light, which I’ve noticed. He said he couldn’t see to the back of her eyes, but he suspects a problem with her optic nerves.

So we’ll see how she feels tomorrow.

Along with Karma, Jan was kind of under the weather today, so about 4 I went over to Los Ramirez to pick up dinner. Delicious as always.

Our son Chris called today and said that Miss Piper started her Psychological Counselor job with the Austin Police Department’s 911 division this past Tuesday.

Hopefully we’ll have more info soon.

Thought For The Day:

Sometimes you just have to close your eyes, count to ten, take a deep breath, and remind yourself that you wouldn’t look good in prison stripes, and just smile at the idiot and walk away.



January 28, 2011

VOIP and Allure . . .

12 Days and Counting . . .

This morning started out with coffee, and our friend Maria calling a little before 10 with a computer problem that took a while to figure out.

After that I packed up the 4 sensors that I’m returning to Doran in a Priority Mail envelope and did a online shipping label so it’s ready to go. We’ll drop it by the P.O. on our way to dinner tonight.

Next I spent some time talking with my new client, and the VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) company that they will be getting their phone service from.

A little later, I went outside and worked a while  on double-checking and touching up the caulking on some seams. I started on installing the check valve in the water pump line to prevent the shore water backfilling the fresh water tank through the pump, but ran out of time due to Jan needing to get her shower. I’ll try to finish it up this weekend.

We left the rig about 4 pm to meet our friends Bob & Beth at the Hibachi Grill up in Webster.

On the way we stopped off at Dues RV & Camper in Dickinson to buy a new shower hose inline on/off valve, but they didn’t have one.

The Hibachi Grill & Buffet recently opened in the old Ryan’s building with a Chinese buffet and Hibachi grill. Thus, the name.

Once again, the ratings on Yelp.com turned out to be very accurate. It was really good with maybe one of the biggest selections of food I’ve seen. And everything was hot and fresh.

Saying goodbye to our friends, we headed home, stopping off at first Lowe’s, and then Home Depot, where I finally found my valve. The old one had been leaking and dripping for awhile, so this will take care of that.

Getting back home, I went online to rent a 16 ft Budget Truck (I wonder if I still remember how to drive something that short) to haul some of my mother’s furniture up to a friend’s consignment shop. Hopefully they will be able to take some or all of it off our hands so I can stop paying on this storeroom.

Then next I started ripping up the carpet and pad in the front area of the coach. I going to replace it with Allure laminate flooring. Allure, sold by Home Depot, is just the thing for RV’s since it is a thick, slightly flexible rubber laminate that looks like wood. The flexibility makes it perfect for the coach, and being rubber-based, it’s not bothered by water.allure

The carpet is so hard to keep clean, and has a few stains (cat barf – ) that just won’t come out. Last year I rented a carpet steamer/cleaner that helped some, but this will take care of the problem permanently.

I’ve noticed the new coaches we’ve looked at all have either ceramic tile or laminate instead of carpeting in the living room. Now I know why.

That’s it for today. I’ve got more carpet to pull up.

Thought for the Day:

Live the life you have imagined. – Henry David Thoreau



January 28, 2012

Last Day . . .

For anyone who needs their Landon fix, I got some shots of Brandi and Landon when we all had dinner at Floyd’s Cajun Seafood the other night.

Brandi and Landon at Floyds 1

Brandi and Landon at Floyds 2

A couple of cuties!

Next, it was on to Wal-Mart. I mean, what’s a day without Wal-Mart?

Besides a few and various sundries, Jan and I were looking for a kitchen cart. She really enjoyed having an extra work surface in the kitchen when our washer/dryer was out waiting for parts in December.

So, after doing a lot of checking, we decided to take a closer look at this one. And after seeing it, we bought one home. It looks like it will fit between my computer chair and the dining table chair just fine.

Kitchen Cart

Then it was on to Fry’s Electronics to pick up some new LED Christmas lights. I’d noticed the other day that they still had some in stock and I wanted to replace the old ones in the light ball I made Jan a couple of months ago. Some of them had already started burning out. LED’s are supposed to do that.

LED Light Ball

It’s about 12 inches in diameter and hangs in the front window of the coach. Jan saw another rig with something like it a few months ago and wanted one too. It looks pretty good.

Next we drove around the area to sightsee some more, including NASA and around Clear Lake and back.

Heading back east we stopped at a Buc-ee’s to get cappuccino’s and gas, before then heading east on FM517 out to San Leon and April Fool Point to check out some RV parks in the area and also Topwater Grill, a really neat seafood restaurant right on Galveston Bay

TopWater Grill

Finishing up our trip, we got back to the rig about 5 to rest up for a couple of hours before heading out about 7 for our dinner.

And we ended up at La Brisa.

You can’t go wrong with Mexican.

Thought for the Day:

“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” — Thomas Jefferson



January 28, 2013

As Roseanne Roseannadanna says . . .

“It’s always something.”

Just about the time I’m getting a handle on my rig repairs, the fan motor in our bathroom Fan-tastic Vent fan quit. The cover will still open and close, but the fan will not run in either direction.

It died when I wanted to change the fan’s rotation from OUT to IN. I turned the fan off using the rotary speed switch and then changed the Direction switch from OUT to IN. When I turned the fan back on, it didn’t start.

So I turned it back to OUT and tried again – still nothing. No matter what I tried after that, nothing got the fan running again. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to give a Fan-tastic a call today.

Next up, I’m stepping in it once again . . .

Next it was time to squirm under the rig (and I do mean squirm) and replace the rubber bracket on the air bag proportioning valve.

The broken bracket looked like this.

Airbag Rod End

After loosening the clamp I pulled the old piece off and slid the new bracket on. And after tightening the clamp, it looked like this.

Airbag Rod Bracket 2


Scrunching over a bit, I loosen the bolt holding the other piece of the broken bracket, and reattached the new one connected to the rod.

Airbag Rod Bracket Closeup

It ended up looking like this on the lower end,

Airbag Rod Bracket 3

and this where it attaches to the valve.

Airbag Rod Bracket 4

Job done. I think it took me longer to get under the rig and back out than it did to do the actual repair.

I’ll probably wait until tomorrow to crank up the engine and confirm the rig comes up on the air bags.

Two tools I got for Christmas really helped with changing out the bolt holding the rubber bracket. There was not a lot of room to maneuver up there, even to get a socket/ratchet combo in position.

But these Channelock Ratcheting Wrenches made it easy-pezy.

Channelock Wrenches


To hold the other nut without rounding off the edges, these Kobalt Magnum Grip Pliers really fit the bill. Wide open or completely closed, the jaws always stay parallel. Nice.

Kobalt Pliers

After cleaning up, I headed out for a few errands, with my first stop being the Dickinson Police Station to see about getting Jan’s fingerprint card redone.

After she had it done the first time last April at the Sheriff’s Office in Floresville, TX for her gate guarding Security Guard’s License, the state waited for almost 4 months to tell her the fingerprint card needed to be redone.

So I checked with the Dickinson Police and they said she could get it done there. Another thing on the schedule for later this week.

Next up was a stop at Taylor Automotive on Hwy 3 in Dickinson to follow up with them about getting the rear wheel seal replaced on our RV.

When I was under the RV last week looking at the air bag problem, I saw the passenger’s rear wheel had some oil leakage, so I wanted to get it fixed before we hit the road in 3 weeks.

Leaky Wheel Seal

I talked to them last week about having it done this week, but in one of those ‘doh!’ moments that wives are known to give their husbands on a regular basis, Jan suggested that rather then packing up and taking the rig in, and then coming back to the park, and then leaving in 3 weeks, we should just get it done on the 18th as we’re leaving here.

Sounds good to me.

So after confirming that it was OK if I went ahead and got the seal ahead of time, I told them we’d see them on the 18th of February.

Rear Wheel Seal


Last it was a quick stop at Kroger’s to pick up some fresh vegetables for tonight’s Homemade Chicken Vegetable Soup. After checking out the selection I ended up with broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and snow peas to go with some of the chicken breasts we poached last week.

Put it all in the Crock-Pot along with some Chicken Stock and a few hours later, soup’s on.

Hmmm, hmmm, good.

Getting home I went on the RVChassisParts website and ordered the wheel seal from them for $55, not a bad price.

While I was online ordering things I also ordered the 26” Denso wiper blades for the rig. Fleetwood sells them for $40 each, but Amazon has them for $18, so Amazon it was.

I never got to the Day/Night Shade reinstallation today. Maybe tomorrow. Also never got a chance to call Fan-tastic Vent. Again, tomorrow.

Thought for the Day:

“You can ignore reality, but you cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.” – Ayn Rand



January 28, 2014

Sheets to the Wind . . .

The high today was 50 degrees at 1 minute after midnight and it just went down from there. The sleet started about noon and the temperature dropped down to 30 and stayed there the rest of the afternoon. We’re looking for about 26 degrees tonight, but into the mid 40’s tomorrow so things are looking up.

Because the weather was so crappy we stayed home today and just enjoyed the time together.

For dinner Jan fixed our version of Skyline Chili’s Chili Spaghetti Four Ways.

Skyline Chili Ways

She mixed a can of Skyline Chili with a bag of our homemade chili from the freezer, put it over spaghetti, and added shredded cheese. It would have been Chili Five Ways, but I forgot the onions until it was too late. As usual, really good.

Jan and I have really been enjoying Sleepy Hollow which just wrapped up its 13 episode 1st season. And happily it has been renewed, a fate that other series we really liked, i.e. 666 Park Ave., have unfortunately avoided.

I like being surprised by well-written plot twists, something that seems missing in a lot of shows, but Sleepy Hollow has enough surprises to keep me entertained. A creative re-telling of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow with Ichabod Crane, plus George Washington, The Headless Horseman, and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and switching back and forth between Revolutionary War days and the present, it’s non-stop.

Now, on to the sheets. When we spent the night at our daughter Brandi’s on Christmas Eve, Jan fell in love with the soft sheets Brandi had on our bed and wanted to get some for us. Brandi said they were 1000 thread count sheets that she got on Groupon.

So I started researching high thread count sheets, and found that any thread count over 400-600 is kind of just advertising hype, because looms don’t hold more threads than that. What they do is twist several fibers together and use those in the count. So two fibers twisted together and then wove on on 500 thread loom becomes a 1000 thread count sheet. The biggest difference is the type of fibers used and whether the sheets are percale or sateen, with sateen being the softest.

So I got on Amazon and after some research, came up with these.

Milani Sheet Set

Striped QUEEN Sateen Sheet Set

They’re listed as being 1500 thread count which probably means 3 fiber thread on a 500 thread loom. The reviews were pretty uniformly good except for some who were upset about the depth of mattress the fitted sheets will handle. And even they’re not $200, they’re not $100, or not $50. They’re $25 for a set of 1 fitted sheet, 1 flat sheet and two standard pillow cases.

So we took a shot and ordered a queen size set from Amazon, knowing we could return them if we weren’t happy. We also order a set of two king size pillow cases as well, since we have two king size pillows and two standards.

When they came Jan washed them and we put them on the bed. And they’re a big hit. We really like them. They’re very soft, but not slick, and have a kind of microfiber feel.

Very nice. We plan to order a second set.

Thought for the Day:

As Mae West said, there’s no such thing as too much of a good thing.



January 28, 2015

It Works!

We were both up about 7am this morning to get ready for our trip back over to the Colorado River Thousand Trails. We didn’t plan on leaving until around noon, but since we wanted to have breakfast at Cracker Barrel before we left, and also had some bank business to take care, we wanted to allow plenty of time.

After taking down our Winegard Carryout Satellite Dish and stowing it away, I dumped a bottle of Diesel Kleen into the rig’s fuel tank. I started using Diesel Kleen a few years ago on our first gate guard job. One of the drivers told me about it, and said his company had done a test trial with about 50 of their trucks, and were now using it in all 600+ vehicles. Said they were showing a solid 5-6% increase in mpg, along with cleaner injectors. So I try to dump in a bottle every 4 or 5 fillups. Only cost  $6-7 at Wal-Mart.

We headed off to Cracker Barrel about 8:15, and based on our Wed. morning breakfast there three weeks ago, we didn’t expect them to be very busy, but they were pretty slammed. So much so that it took a lot longer to get our food this time. But we weren’t in any real hurry, so it was fine.

But for whatever reason, our bank business took a lot longer than expected too, So by the time we got back to the rig and we pulled out, it was a little before 12 noon. The last time we were parked at this site, I was able to hitch up and pull out and go. But this time the people next to us, in a truck camper, had pulled the picnic table over into their site, and right out next to the road. So I was afraid if I pulled out hitched up, I’d hit the picnic table with our toad. So we hitched up right down the road and were on our way.

The trip was pretty standard, with no slowdowns, just the usual amount of Houston traffic. But there were two highlights for us.

First off, along the way we hit 130,000 miles on the coach, about 67,500 miles of it ours. At 130,000 miles, ‘Beauty’ is just getting broken it.

And secondly, we found out the new transfer switch I installed about a month ago actually works. Every time we’ve traveled since I installed it, it’s been cold and rainy so we haven’t needed the AC’s, but today we did. So right after we got on the road, I fired up the generator and a couple of minutes the AC’s came on and ran fine the entire trip. It Works!

We were both pretty hungry, so after we were set up, we headed out to have dinner at Los Cabos, our favorite Mexican place in the area. Actually it’s our only Mexican place in the area, since we’ve never eaten Mexican any where else.

Not sure what’s in store for tomorrow, but I’m sure it will be interesting.


Thought for the Day:

Abnormal is so common, it’s practically normal. – Cory Doctorow



January 28, 2016

Zip Lines and Fishing Line . . .

Jan was pretty much on the mend today, with just that remaining blah, post-migraine feeling. But by late afternoon, she was much better and felt like going out. So about 4pm we headed into Conroe to have dinner at Culver’s, a favorite of ours.

I don’t know what they do different with their meat, but when you bite into a Butterburger, you get a much, more ‘meaty’ taste. Don’t think it’s just the ‘butter’, but it’s certainly a better taste.

Really good.

Coming home, I made a quick stop at the nearby Academy Sports to pick up some high-test fishing line to restring our day/night shades.

H20 Express Fishing Line_thumb[3]

I found this 80lb. test line for a good price that is supposed to resist abrasion, so I’ll give it a try after we’re back at Colorado River TT next week. Then after a quick Kroger stop for a few things, we were home by 6pm.

While on the subject of fast food, we got a number of comments on our recent KFC blog. One reader’s wife was even working in a dry cleaners when the Colonel brought in six of his seven white suits in to be cleaned. He was wearing the seventh.

Another thing that I think we did differently back then is that we processed all our chickens by hand. Never frozen, the whole chickens arrived in iced-down 50# crates that went right into the cooler.

Then using a bandsaw we sliced up each chicken into 9 pieces, 1 breast, 2 ribs, 2 thighs, 2 legs, and 2 wings. Then the pieces went into a marinating tub and back into the cooler overnight. They were then dropped into the breading right before they went into the fryer.

The menu was a lot simpler back then too. In fact, except for sides, there were only five different items on the menu.

1. A  2 piece Snack Pak with Mashed Potatoes and a Roll

2. A  3 piece Dinner with Mashed Potatoes, Cole Slaw, and a Roll

3. A  9 piece (one whole chicken) Family Pak

4. A 15 piece Bucket

5. A 21 piece Barrel

Much simpler than the myriad of items they have today.

Our friend Jim Guld recently posted this video of a roller coaster zipline combination.

Looks like a lot of fun.

And, although I don’t think it’s the one above, there is one near Kissimmee, FL.


Jan’s said she’ll do it with me this year when we’re in Florida in a few months. Looking forward to it.

And if you want to buy your own RollerCoaster Zipline, here’s the company that will sell you one.


Just the thing after you win the next big Powerball.

Thought for the Day:


1. “They should not allow topless sunbathing on the beach. It was very distracting for my husband who just wanted to relax.”

2. “On my holiday to Goa in India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don’t like spicy food.”



January 28, 2018

Farm To Grill . . .

After a quiet morning, about 1pm Jan and I drove up to see Brandi and Lowell’s new house in Katy since they got moved in last week. Since they dropped over a thousand square feet from their old house to this one, they’ve got a lot of leftover furniture that they’ve going to have to put in storage for a while, while they’ll spend the next year looking for a new one in the same general area

About 3:15 we all headed over to the La Centerra area to have dinner at a new place called Dish Society Their claim to fame is being a farm to grill restaurant using as much local supplies as they can.

Lowell had the Shrimp and Grits, while Brandi had the Citrus Glazed Salmon. Jan had the Grilled Chicken Breast with Balsamic Bacon Brussels Sprouts and Mashed Sweet Potatoes.

I had the Chicken Make Your Own Salad where you choose your own ingredients from a list of about 30, including Sunflower Seeds, Candied Pecans, and Goat Cheese.

All really good, but you don’t get any photos because I left my phone at home.

When we were in Apache Junction last March and April we visited our other favorite farm to grill place, and in this case the farm is a little closer, as in right out the backdoor, so I thought I do a rerun of that.

Leaving Wal-Mart, we made the 20 minute run over to Gilbert to have an early dinner at Joe’s Farm Grill, another of our favorite places here in the Apache Junction area, and also featured on Triple D with Guy Fieri.

We’ve eaten here a number of times, and it’s always been great.

Joe's Family Grill 1a

And today was.certainly no exception.

Joe's Farm Grill

We each got our favorites, with Jan’s Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Cheese, Grilled Onions and Avocado, along with a side of their Asian Slaw on the right, while I got the Sonoran Dog with a side of their Fried Green Beans with Pesto on the left. The green beans are fantastic and big enough to share.

And of course we couldn’t leave out a big glass of their homemade Strawberry Lemonade, made from strawberries and lemons grown right here on the property.

Joe's Farm Grill Strawberry Lemonade

In fact, much of the fruits and vegetables used in the restaurant are grown right here on the adjacent farm. And actually the restaurant itself was built around the family home built in the 1960’s.

Joe's Farm Grill Land

All of the brown and green areas are the farmland next to the restaurant.

And here’s our 2nd visit, right before we left for Las Vegas.

After having tried the Garlic Pesto Fried Green Beans last time, and loving the pesto, Jan got the Pesto Chicken Sandwich with Swiss, Roasted Red Pepper, Grilled Mushrooms, and farm-made Pecan Pesto, as well as another order of the Pesto Green Beans for us to share.

Joe's Farm Grill 2

While instead of my usual Sonoran Dog, I got the Gouda Garlic Bacon Burger Stack.

Joe's Farm Grill 2 Gouda Bacon Burger

Made with half pound THICK burger (all natural, fresh, chuck, cooked pink),bacon, roasted garlic, imported Gouda cheese, grilled red onion, beefsteak tomato, pickles, house made Caesar dressing, on a toasted bun, it was a complete feast. In addition we both got salads as our sides.

Wrapping up, as we were driving up to Brandi’s,  minus my phone, I got to thinking that if I did have car trouble, I couldn’t call ANYBODY, even if I borrowed someone else’s cell, or used a payphone. I no longer knew anybody’s phone numbers.

I couldn’t call Brandi, Chris, our SafeRide Road Service, or anyone I knew. So I’m going to print out a list of important numbers and keep it in my wallet.

Now if I can just remember my wallet.

Thought for the Day:

If you need to be a lawyer to know the law, then the defect is in the law, not in the citizenry. 



January 28, 2019

A Worrisome 46 Minutes . . .

Today is the 33rd anniversary of the Shuttle Challenger explosion.

I was working at Johnson Space Center and had just come off a 16 hour night shift that ran long due to some equipment problems. And since I was dead tired, and the launch was not for another almost three hours, I went to bed. I was planning to get for this one, but slept though it, the first launch I had ever missed.

But as it turns out, our daughter Brandi, who was12 had stayed home sick that day, and was watching when the Shuttle exploded. So she called Jan at work and said, “Mommy, the Challenger broke!” So Jan told her to go wake me up.

And that kicked off six months of long hours and confusing requests from Washington, doing video support for the Rogers Commission inquiry into the Challenger .

The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and “slipped the surly bonds of earth” to “touch the face of God.” – President Ronald Reagan.

Early this afternoon I went to the Amazon site to check on the delivery status of my rig oil filter and filter wrench that were supposed to arrive today.

And I found something new – A button on the Track Package page that said “Click To Track Your Package in Real Time”. And here’s what I saw.

Track Package 1

And a little later I saw this.

Track Package 2

A couple of minutes later I saw the map icon on my street, so I walked outside, and about 10 seconds later, this pulled into the parking lot.

Amazon Delivery Van

And I have a couple of more things arriving tomorrow that look to be coming the same way. Neat.

A little after noon, and after the office manager said she was finished processing last night’s website orders, I took the server down to move it over to the new UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) that came in last week. I had plugged it in after it came in last Tuesday to let it marinate before I put it online.

So this morning I first shut down the website and then the server and moved the plug over to the new UPS, and booted the server back up and waited for it to initialize and come back online.

And waited . . . and waited . . . and waited.

Becoming more and more anxious as the minutes elapsed.

The reboot time does vary though. Sometimes it’s back up in 5-10 minutes, and once it was a little over 20 minutes. But it has never taken 46 minutes before.

And since it’s a Centos 6 Linux server, there’s not a lot you can do but wait. So I don’t know if it was checking the integrity of, or repairing the databases, or what, but it finally popped back up and was working fine.


Several readers asked what the girl was holding in my niece Stahlie’s Blood Moon artwork.

Stahlie Blood Moon Pic

I’m not absolutely sure, but I think it’s a telescope. You know, for looking at the moon. Though it is kind of bent, I guess.

Thought for the Day:

If you’ve never met the devil on the road of life, it’s because you’re both heading in the same direction.



January 28, 2020

It Broke!

Thirty four years ago this morning I was sound asleep, and our 12 year daughter Brandi, who was home from school sick, came in the bedroom crying and said, “Daddy, It Broke!”.

Still groggy, I said, “What broke, sweetie?”

And she said, “The Shuttle! It broke!”

Thinking that maybe they had cancelled the launch due to the weather, I came into the living room and saw this.

Shuttle Smoke Trail

I was home asleep because I had just come off an 18 hour shift getting all my equipment checked and double-checked, getting ready for the mission. I had gotten off at about 7:30am and come home and went to bed. Ironically this was the first launch that I had not stayed up for, or been awake for.

I was in charge of the Field Sequential Color Converter, necessary because at that time, due to limited bandwidth on the TV downlink from the Shuttle, all ‘color’ TV was sent down as field sequential video, not the standard NTSC video format used by the TV networks and many others.

Similar to the old rotating color wheels used as Christmas lighting, each black and white camera on the Shuttle had an actual rotating color wheel in it, with red, green, and blue filters on the wheel. As the wheel turned at over 1000rpm, the camera sent down sequences of red frames, green frames, and blue frames.

Ending up in Bldg. 8 at JSC, I converted to standard NTSC video and then sent it out to Mission Control, the other NASA centers,  the TV networks, and the rest of the world.

NASA used this method up until about 1995, while use of this method of color generation dates back the the Apollo Moon Landings, for the same reason, restricted bandwidth. If you ever saw something moving fast or thrown, and there seemed to be a ‘comet tail’ following the object, then you were watching field sequential video.

And showing that even old ideas can be useful, the field sequential color, first developed in the early 1900’s, was actually the first commercial color TV system set up by CBS and used in the US, but was replaced by the non-mechanical RCA  NTSC version in 1953

Over the years a lot of different stories have come out about what caused the Challenger Disaster. And like many accidents, there was a cascading sequence of small causes, any one of which if it had been removed would have prevented the explosion.

In this case, the two main causes were politics, and just plain bad luck.

Here’s how it went.

First up, the politics part.

Why were the SRB’s (Solid Rocket Boosters) segmented to start with?

NASA and Morton-Thiokol wanted to build the SRB’s at the Cape, but politics dictated that the Shuttle project largess be spread around to other states, including Utah where the SRB’s ended up being built, done to secure the vote of the state’s congressional delegation for the Shuttle project.

Unfortunately, because a non-segmented SRB was too large to be transported due to tunnel and overpass clearances, they had to be segmented.

So no segments, no gaskets to burn-thru.

Now the sequence of small items.

They had had gasket burn-thrus before, but the gasket always melted and flowed into the gap, sealing the leak, as it did this time.

1. It was an extremely cold, wet winter in Florida.

2. Technical problems kept the Shuttle on pad longer than usual, letting moisture build up in the SRB joints.

3. Freezing weather at launch time.

4. There was an SRB burn-thru on Ignition as had happened before

5. After a second, the gasket flowed and resealed as it had numerous times before.

6. No more problems until throttle-up after Max-Q.

Max-Q or Max Dynamic Pressure occurred at about 35,000 feet and was caused by the increasing speed of the Shuttle vs. the decreasing air density. Decreasing, but still enough to overstress the Shuttle at that speed. At this point the SSME (Space Shuttle Main Engines) are throttled back to about 65%. The SRB’s are also designed to reduce thrust as well.

7. Then just as they throttled back up to 104% power, the highest upper air wind shear ever recorded buffeted Shuttle and rocked the entire stack. The stack is the term used to describe the entire Shuttle at launch, i.e. the Shuttle itself, the ET (External Tank), and the SRB’s.

8. This rocking of the stack reopened the previous burn-thru.

9. SSMEs gimbaled over to offset for the loss of thrust from that SRB.

At this point, if nothing else had happened, the Shuttle would have proceeded into orbit with no further problems

So the First Bad Luck was:

Extreme High Winds at Throttle Up

And the Second Bad Luck and the Primary Cause:

Unfortunately the burn-thru was located on the minority portion of the arc opposite the ET (External Tank). If the burn-thru had occurred on the ~ 300 degree arc not opposite the ET, the shuttle would have achieved orbit with no problem. The slight loss of thrust from the SRB burn-thru would not have been a problem.

It was only sheer bad luck that the burn-thru occurred where it did, and no other reason.


No politics, no segments. No wind shear, no burn-thru, no explosion.

It was just that simple.

Shuttle Challenger Crew

Thought For The Day:

Lord, grant that I may always be right, for thou knowest  I am hard to turn. ~ Scotch-Irish prayer



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